Royal Caribbean uses Periscope to live stream the travel experience

Videos showcase the adventurous side of cruising on NY billboards

A team of adventurers, known in social media as "High on Life," zipline 25-stories high over a lush St. Kitt’s rainforest in one of 13 live Periscope videos being broadcast by Royal Caribbean in New York this week.

Showcasing the experiences of adventure-seeking travelers around the world, the "Come Seek Live" video series is being released on the cruise line’s social media channels and rebroadcast minutes later on 76 digital billboards on MTA station screens and newsstand kiosks across the city, including locations in Union Square and Grand Central Station.

Royal Caribbean’s first Periscope promotion, a seven-day push that began last Friday, is part of the new "Come Seek" brand campaign from MullenLowe introduced last month. The agency collaborated with social media influencers High on Life and Dan Moore to create the social media effort to show that cruise life is about more than just sitting out in the sun.

"We chose these guys because they’re exactly the kind of people we want to bring onto Royal Caribbean," said John Kearse, a creative director at MullenLowe. "They’re adventurers, not tourists. People lounging around isn’t really who’s on Royal Caribbean anymore."

The campaign aims not only to showcase a different, unexpected image of the cruise-line traveler but also the technology available on the ships, which offer high-speed Internet access at sea using Voom. The Wifi service is also being used by production crew to live stream the videos while shooting from the ship.

It took the agency and Royal Caribbean eight weeks to work out the logistics of streaming the videos from the Caribbean locations. The influencers, assisted by production company Tool and director Ben Trickleback, are shooting the clips on the islands of Puerto Rico, Martinique, Barbados and St. Martin, as well as on board Royal Caribbean’s new "Anthem of the Sea" ship.

The full-length video segments, which are being captured on board and around the islands in lengths ranging from 8 to 40 minutes, are being streamed live on Periscope in their entirely. The agency team is then cutting the clips down to 20 minutes in length for re-broadcast ten minutes later on the New York City outdoor boards. MullenLowe’s media arm, Mediahub planned and placed the streaming billboards. Two new videos are being released each day.

The production team is using local cellular providers throughout the production in order to capture and live stream footage they are capturing video off ship, for example in videos showing High of Life playing with monkeys or running around forests. And a dedicated crew member is carrying wireless equipment in a backpack in order to keep the team connected, explained Dustin Johnson, vice president of media creative at Mullen Lowe and Mediahub.  

Pulling off the streaming project on the city billboards required some negotiation with the MTA. The team is incorporating a 10-minute lag time before broadcasting the videos on the billboards in order to censor out any possible profanities or inappropriate comments made by influencers or disruptive watchers. The MTA initially had some concerns and wanted to stay hands-on in the control room where the Mullen Lowe team is editing the footage, said Johnson, but backed off closer to the launch. Also, the MTA usually only allows the placement of 15-second promotional videos, Kearse added, but after some discussion allowed the team to stream 20-minute videos.

To help give the campaign greater reach, the online personalities are promoting their clips through their own social media channels on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #ComeSeekLive. Johnson explained they could have used more popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, but decided to use Periscope, since it is an unproven, emerging platform.

"Periscope is a natural channel" for the campaign, he added, because the cruise line offers high-speed Internet access via Voom, allowing travelers to share their live experiences en route. "People can turn on their friends and family at that moment to show the cruise," said Johnson.

The campaign introduces Royal Caribbean’s Periscope channel, he added, and is "a starting point for something bigger."

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