No Pleasure Cruise

March 2, 2012

By Bill Duggan

The Today Show on March 1 witnessed a horrific collision between content and advertising. Within the first fifteen minutes of the show, a segment aired about a cruise ship that had lost power while in the Indian Ocean. According to the segment, it took three days to tow the ship into port, through waters known for pirate attacks, and during that time passengers endured stifling heat and had to spend nights sleeping on the top deck. The cruise ship belongs to Carnival and the story noted that this was the line's second PR disaster in less than two months, while flashing to images of the Costa Concordia still on its side off the coast of Italy.

It only took ten minutes for the next PR disaster.

During the very next commercial break an ad for Carnival ran - the one with the Todd Rundgren track ("I don't wanna work, and wanna bang on the drum all day") opening with a teen age girl blowing a big bubble watching dad totally unwind on the cruise vacation.

Why, why, why - in this day and age isn't someone at the network (or local station level) monitoring the news content and looking at the commercial log to make sure embarrassments like this don't happen? Advertisers deserve better.

This is an age old issue. But the stakes are higher now as mistakes like this are amplified via social media.

My guess is that the Carnival spot aired in a local break on WNBC in New York (and perhaps other markets). But checks and balances need to be applied at both the national and local levels.



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