Travel Leisure Network Logo

Green Partnership and Community Engagement Create Positive Ripples in Media and Public Sentiment

How Anne Wild and Associates established a brand partnership to bring a cruise client’s global sustainability commitments to life at a grassroots level – earning local goodwill and international recognition.

Anne Wild and Associates (AWA) was tasked with expanding and elevating Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) global Sail and Sustain programme within the Australian market. The goal was to raise awareness of NCL’s environmental commitments and corporate social responsibility, focusing on reducing plastic pollution.

The Approach

Voyage of discovery

AWA commissioned consumer research revealing that sustainability was an important factor for 44% of NCL’s guests. NCL already had a positive message to communicate – it was the first major cruise company to eliminate single-use plastic water bottles from its ships, saving over 14 million bottles and 50 million plastic straws from harming the environment. AWA aimed to ensure NCL’s customers were aware of their values and efforts, raise awareness about the importance of reducing plastic pollution, and inspire everyone to be part of the solution.

Playing matchmaker

To avoid any accusations of ‘greenwashing’, AWA actively sought a genuine partner that shared NCL’s commitment to sustainability. They found the perfect match in Take 3 For The Sea, a grassroots organisation dedicated to cleaning up oceans and waterways. This partnership allowed for creative collaboration, education, and inspiring action to remove litter and preserve coastal destinations. It was designed with scalability in mind, enabling more people to join NCL’s long-term journey towards enhanced sustainability.

Plans aweigh

A comprehensive communications plan was set in motion leading up to the arrival of Norwegian Spirit in local waters, scheduled for December 2022. This plan aimed to provide unique opportunities for NCL staff, travel agents, and guests to participate in NCL’s sustainability efforts. AWA assigned a dedicated team of three to brainstorm, negotiate, and implement the partnership and PR plan. AWA charged a project consultancy fee, while NCL’s investment included a significant donation (to be reviewed annually) to support the ongoing activities of Take 3 For The Sea.

Reel in the rubbish

The NCL and Take 3 for the Sea partnership began with NCL sponsoring Take 3’s Sydney CEO Beach Clean-Up – with NCL’s APAC MD leading by example. Subsequently, NCL organised team beach clean-ups involving its staff, travel agents, and media partners to learn about plastic pollution. They incorporated a Take 3 Clean-Up Challenge into their Walk for Wellness (W4W) travel agent initiative, encouraging agents to collect rubbish while walking. This fun and engaging approach was promoted through trade media, the W4W app, and social media to raise awareness of Take 3 and showcase NCL’s commitment to reducing plastic pollution.

All hands on deck

The next activity was specifically designed to get NCL guests involved in the cause – creating a brand-first complimentary beach clean-up shore excursion for guests on board Norwegian Spirit’s inaugural Australian cruise. By participating in the Beach Clean-Up shore excursion, guests learned firsthand about the hidden consequences of plastic pollution on our oceans and wildlife. The initiative received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Bookings reached maximum capacity within 24 hours, showing a genuine demand for sustainable activities among cruisers. This confirms the relevance of the NCL and Take 3 for the Sea partnership.

The Results

The AWA campaign for NCL surpassed expectations and received an overwhelmingly positive response. Commercial metrics like bookings or media coverage did not solely measure the campaign’s success. Instead, it focused on engagement in activities, rubbish collected, and raising awareness of NCL’s sustainability commitments and Take 3 For The Sea’s mission.

Taking a bow

NCL’s parent company (NCLH) highlighted the success of the Take 3 partnership in its latest global Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report, and NCL is now looking to extend the partnership to other destinations visited by its 18-strong fleet, including Asia Pacific – a massive success for a new partnership. AWA was honoured to win the prestigious award for ‘Best Brand Partnership’ for the NCL and Take 3 for the Sea alliance at the recent Mumbrella Travel Marketing Awards.

The X-Factor

The campaign showcased AWA’s creativity, strategic planning, and ability to execute successful PR initiatives aligned with NCL’s Sail and Sustain programme. AWA demonstrated its value and expertise by conducting thorough research and finding the perfect partner and opportunities to promote NCL’s sustainability initiatives.

By understanding the target audience’s interests and creating relatable experiences, the agency successfully raised brand awareness, fostered stronger relationships, and expanded the partnership’s success to other destinations visited by NCL’s fleet.

Here are some highlights of the campaign:

Articles Published
We managed to get the message out with 65 articles published, reaching a total of 10,077,133 people.

Take 3 CEO Beach Clean-up
We had an amazing turnout of 50 participants who collected an impressive 35 kg of rubbish.

NCL Staff and Agent Clean-ups
Our team and agents joined forces with 52 participants, gathering 27 kg of rubbish.

Norwegian Spirit Clean-up Shore Excursion (guests)
45 guests enthusiastically participated in this clean-up activity, resulting in 5 kg of rubbish collected.

NCL Walk for Wellness
This event was a huge success, with record-breaking participation and the introduction of the first-ever Take 3 Clean-up Challenge.

These achievements demonstrated strong participation and positive sentiment throughout the campaign. They inspired NCL’s guests cruising in the ANZ region to make a difference by collecting rubbish every time they go ashore.