Why the all-inclusive campaign by Celebrity Cruises changed the face of travel marketing

Why the all-inclusive campaign by Celebrity Cruises changed the face of travel marketing

Simple is good, and good is simple.

Especially when it comes to campaign work for brands trying to punch above its weight. The kind of ideas I’m drawn to are always ones so straightforward and obvious that they make me say ‘well of course!’ first, and then ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ second.

The All-inclusive Photo Project by travel providers Celebrity Cruises is one such campaign.

Because, of course, the second you think of travel photography you subconsciously fill your mind with the same photos you’ve seen for years: namely, slim white women, occasionally tanned, sometimes holding a cocktail, and every now and then, presumably for variety, with their families too. It’s something that’s become so normalised, so wallpaper-ed, that it actually jars a bit when you see any other photography or film for a travel brand.

And so by exploiting a simple quirk of language - all-inclusive holidays / all-inclusive casting - Celebrity Cruises have produced a wonderfully rich positioning and campaign execution that answers a problem that we’ve all been too close to to actually realise.

I believe that everyone deserves to be represented, and why not in travel photography too? The first step to true diversity is genuinely normalising true diversity, to the extent that it’s no longer even worthy of comment. Unfortunately that time is still some way off, so this is still to be acknowledged and applauded.

I was also impressed when I saw that, not only have Celebrity Cruises shot all these beautiful images with some of the world’s leading photographers - the likes of the fabulous Annie Leibovitz and Giles Duley - but they’ve also made them free for anyone to use.

Theirs is the first open-source, diverse photo library in the world, with a huge mix of ethnicities, body shapes, sexualities and body-abilities. These are all people with a real story and a real purpose, and by promoting them, Celebrity Cruises is taking a stand within its sector and challenging its competition to match them.

It’s brave, it’s bold, and I’d love to see other sectors who’ve so often relied on one particular body type or image style to take note.

The beauty industry, the fashion industry and the scent industry, for a start, could all do with showing a bit more of the bread-and-butter reality of their customers, rather than just lazily relying on the latest toast of Hollywood.

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