A nine-year-old Carnival Cruise lover reserved the Snapchat handle @CarnivalCruise in 2012.
Darian Lipscomb, now 16, had been on four Carnival cruises by the time he was 9. He wasn’t squatting on a valuable social media handle, just expressing his love for his favourite brand.
But recently, Carnival decided to see if it could entice Lipscomb to part with the name. So, it went looking for him.
Carnival put on a full-court press, using its latest promotional tool, chief fun officer Shaquille O'Neal, on billboards and a mobile advertising truck, which it dispatched to Prospect, Virginia, where Lipscomb lives.
"Hey Prospect, Does Anyone Know Darian?" said the mobile ads, listing Shaq's own social media handle as the place to respond.
Knowing his love for cruising, Carnival dangled the possibility of a sailing on the new Carnival Horizon in exchange for the Snapchat rights to @CarnivalCruise.
The day after the billboards hit the street, Carnival surprised Lipscomb in person at his home, to officially extend the invitation for him and his family to sail aboard the Carnival Horizon.
Carnival has the @CarnivalCruise handle in time to use it to promote the Horizon's debut next month in the Mediterranean.
Lipscomb and his family set off for Barcelona on 31MAR for his first cruise in Europe. Carnival planned to make him the first passenger to board the cruise and promised surprises for the Lipscomb family throughout the voyage.
Some people on social media think Lipscomb should have held out for more. We think he did just fine, and very likely his family does too.
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.