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Through The Eyes of Locals

Royal Caribbean x MullenLowe U.S. x Clay Jeter

Here's one way to appreciate culture:

Known for their exotic destination adventures, Royal Caribbean decided to give us all a new perspective with 'The Local' -- an original series that celebrates people and their cultural stories. In this series (their first taking place in Alaska), they highlight three locals from Cuba. (The video is a brief teaser that previews the campaign’s different stories, which are told in separate, longer videos via their YouTube channel.)

This is why I'm a fan:

I. Love. Stories. Period. And any brand that takes that time to invest in people are alright in my eyes. This is why, my favorite this week, goes out to Royal Caribbean and advertising agency MullenLowe U.S. What's also beautiful is how telling a story can have the ability to expand our minds and enhance our understanding of another culture. When we see through the eyes of another, we get perspective and we get unmatched, priceless value. This is a very timely campaign for many reasons.

We can all have preconceived ideas of places in the world, if we've never been there ourselves to experience. When we think of "culture" in association with locations, we primarily think of the food, the music, the people (or shall I say: the stereotype), the landscape and architectures, and some would maybe think of the history. But often times, we don't dig further past the obvious or the most talked about. With food? There's more than just a popular dish... And music? It isn't just one genre that tells a destination's story... It's people?! They certainly aren't all the same.... It's landscapes and architectures? It's not simply how beautiful the mountains look... Let's also look to learn about what their side streets and alley ways represent and the history they hold. And so on.

It's true that there will always, always, always be a few "top" personality traits to a place in the globe. That's inevitable. Take Brazil as an example -- one that's a personal example to me. I wasn't born in Brazil but that's where my family is from. I've visited; I've also lived there for a couple of years when I was younger. But can I say how it's not all about "the women, the food, the beaches, and carnival?" Oh, and let us also add corruption -- that's a personality trait that has been causing attention for some time now and plaguing my family's homeland. But guess what? Even amidst the stereotype, the assumptions and recent/ongoing scandals, there's still so. much. more. And this is why I really loved this campaign because it did exactly what people needed to see: The other side of the stereotype by showcasing an unexpected side of Cuba that people aren't that familiar (or at all familiar) with.

These real stories showcased how vibrant and diverse the island is. Shot documentary style by filmmaker, Clay Jeter, it gives us visuals that focus on a positive look inside Cuba, And it's all made real through the eyes of dance student, Gabriela, host and chef, Hubert and Manolo and biologist and rock climber, Emmanuel. When watching these approximately 5 minute long stories, we see the people but we see Cuba tied into these individuals and their dreams, making this marketing initiative that much more rooted in things that don't typically come to mind when we hear, "Cuba."

Kara Wallace -- VP of North America Marketing for Royal Caribbean says it best:

“We want to share authentic stories that celebrate the uniqueness of the people and each destination we sail to. We chose Cuba because it enabled us to offer a glimpse into a country that many people still know little about, yet are captivated by. The spirit and the energy of this country is truly brought to life through the people, and Cuba provided no shortage of stories to tell.”

They achieved exactly that.

Erek Vinluan, Associate Creative Director at MullenLowe also had a great perspective to add, saying how “Cuba is a place that has been somewhat stuck in time. Everywhere you look, there is a feeling of nostalgia, from the cars and clothing to the decor and architecture... it would feel like we were watching a historical period piece. But that is Cuba—a place with its own unique set of challenges and beauty.”

Beautifully said and also real. Because it's true that "there is no beauty without hope, struggle, and conquest." Every piece of the story maters.

This campaign inspires us to travel but mainly, to explore deeper and to experience fuller.

Here's a thought, Royal Caribbean: For season 3, how about making Brazil your next stop? We'd be happy to help! (wink, wink).

Sources: Adweek, Royal Caribbean's YouTube Page

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