How long did you spend contemplating your awesome Snapchat or Twitter handle? A week or did you just take whatever the computer suggested that had your name followed by a string of numbers and hyphens? Darian Lipscomb didn’t just take any old Snapchat handle. He snagged the highly coveted Snapchat handle of “@CarnivalCruise.” Now the teen is getting a free cruise from Carnival in exchange for the Snapchat handle after a campaign featuring Shaq inundated his hometown of Prospect, Virginia.
Six years ago, Lipscomb created his Snapchat with the handle “@CarnivalCruise” to share videos of his vacation with his friends. Darian has gone on three more Carnival cruises since then and has shared zip-lining and beach videos on his social media account. As Snapchat has gotten more popular, companies have seen the potential for marketing on the social media app including Carnival Cruises. The cruise line was interested in securing Darian’s Snapchat account and to persuade Darian into giving up his handle, the cruise line enlisted a big gun to impress the teen: Shaquille O’Neal. Carnival Cruise billboards featuring Shaq starting popping up all around his hometown.
Shaq, who is Carnival’s “Chief Fun Officer,” had an offer that Darian could not refuse. On Monday, Carnival Cruise offered Darian and his family an all-expenses-paid European 14-day cruise on the line’s newest ship, the Carnival Horizon. The offer included flights and hotels. The value of European vacation is valued at $5,000. But in order to get this incredible deal, the 15-year-old would have to forfeit his Snapchat account to Carnival. A no-brainer, the Lipscomb family will begin their European adventure starting in Barcelona on March 31.
“We thought this would be a fun way to claim our handle and reward a ‘superfan’ at the same time,” said Robyn Fink, Carnival Cruise Line’s director of consumer public relations. I knew I should have gone with the handle of @CarnivalCruise instead of @Blockbuster.