I’ve seen a couple of these Princess Cruise ads on TV, and they really drew my attention. I think they’re brilliant, actually.
In a rut? The ads sell the company’s cruises as a way to get out of that rut, not by visiting new places in the usual travel sense, but through a more internal journey that involves renewing relationships in a relaxing and luxurious atmosphere. It’s the theme and variations rather than the symphony.
That some of the ads may be quite obnoxious is of little import. The husbands or wives of a certain age, archly studying their long-term spouses in the shipboard light as though they were prize heifers and deciding they’re not so tedious after all, might strike the viewer as repugnant. But the demographic that might be expected to go on cruises may feel otherwise, and the idea of interpersonal renewal may be a good part of the reason.
Princess Cruises is certainly counting on it being part of the reason, and willing to spend quite a bit of money to prove it. It’s a new twist on the idea of a shipboard romance—this time, you’ll be having a romance with the person you’re already with, who’ll seem like a new person.
One who knows how to order wine, for example. This particular ad rubs me the wrong way for all the stated reasons and probably a few more besides, but I continue to think it’s masterful:
Here’s a similar ad with the sexes reversed:
Similar, and yet different, and not just because the couple is younger in the second ad. The woman in the first ad is admiring her slightly-graying guy because of his behavior—he’s such a sophisticate with the wine! The man in the second is admiring the way his wife looks rather than something she does, and that ad might appeal to women because it indicates that on a cruise he won’t be so mad at them for taking too long to get ready.
Brilliant, as I said.
[NOTE: My parents used to cruise every year before tax time, a way for my father (who was a CPA) to relax in winter before the big big crunch that had him burning the midnight oil. They went with at least three other couples and often more, all good friends, and they had a whopping good time.
I don't think there was a lot of contemplative re-evaluation of the marriage. It was more about interacting with other people and experiencing some warm weather, usually the Caribbean. When I was fourteen they took my brother and me on a Christmas Caribbean cruise. I've never been on a cruise as an adult, but I remember that one well, especially the all-you-can-eat food. I gained about five pounds in ten days, and stayed in a room with my brother. The ship was the Mauretania, which was scrapped not long after my cruise. It seemed archaic even then; the cabin I shared with my brother was tiny and dark, without windows of any sort, which meant we could sleep late because there was no sense of time. There was a shared dorm-like bathroom down the hall. Not exactly the lap of luxury, but it was fun nevertheless.]