Royal Caribbean Livestreams Dream Vacation Periscope Feed To NYC Billboards

Now you can be insanely jealous of strangers in real time!

Traditionally, we’ve had to wait until after people return from vacation and start telling us about it to unleash our raging jealousy that burns with the heat of a thousand suns. Since the dawn of social media that process has been expedited with the ability to passive aggressively comment on Instabragging shots of beaches, mountains and whatever else is nowhere near your cubicle right now.


But in a new campaign, Royal Caribbean takes things a step further and has created a situation that will allow New Yorkers to experience that special kind of holiday envy in real time. Twice a day for seven days, “Come Seek Live” from agency MullenLowe, is broadcasting the adventures of a team of travelers across five Caribbean destinations live on Periscope. Not only that, but the real-time social video feeds are also being broadcast on a series of 76 digital billboards around NYC.

MullenLowe SVP and creative director John Kearse says the idea came out of the notion of trying to connect with people who had never considered cruising. Something beyond big white ships, buffet lines, and sipping piña coladas. “That may be true for some cruise lines, but the reality is Royal Caribbean is not that,” says Kearse. “There are loads of new experiences to dig into both on these cutting edge ships and when you dive into the dozens of cultures, cuisines, musical styles, and even landscapes of the different islands and countries of the Caribbean. It’s not homogenous. So the Periscope idea came from the desire to show these adventure seekers the real Caribbean that Royal Caribbean can bring you. We liked Periscope for this because of its immediacy, and we liked the challenge and the novelty of bringing these broadcasts to a very traditional medium.”

The agency’s SVP and creative lead for social and digital Dustin Johnson says the biggest technical challenge was figuring out a workflow that would work between unreliable wifi on some of the islands and the low orbit satellites following Royal Caribbean ships to serve up fast Internet (called VOOM) at sea.

“A crew and talent shoots the live Periscope stream from the cruise using cellular backpacks or Royal Caribbean’s on-board VOOM system, and as the live stream happens, social and media people in Boston and Miami trigger paid media and engage in the conversations,” says Johnson. “Then, once the stream ends, a control room in Los Angeles lightly moderates the Periscope feed chat that appears on the video to remove things like curse words, then we recapture that footage on a phone, do a rapid fire cut-down for time, and orient the film for the three different billboard sizes. Then we traffic the assets to billboard partners whose networks to the billboards were not designed for fast turnaround of video.”

All this to somehow transform your seething jealousy as you walk into the subway into the holy grail of purchase intent.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.