“Everyone looks and talks the same in the luxury cruise market.
How should we stand out?”

APT River Cruises & Tours: Repositioning and differentiating the luxury travel brand within its ultra-competitive market.

Initial project: Primary market research via Mint:Lab. Strategy & positioning.
Subsequent projects over 2 years: Communicating the positioning across all touchpoints. Inc. targeted  TV, press & digital ads, exhibition design, DM and email marketing.


Australian-owned APT River Cruises are a market leader in Australia, but were relatively unknown here. They needed to establish themselves in the UK against competitors that were outspending them by up to 10:1. And with the global river cruise market in rapid growth, the opportunities were huge.

Step 1: Our in-house market research division, Mint:Lab, evaluated the river cruise sector in detail. Reviewing the market and brand positionings of APT and its competitors, and undertaking data re-analysis to understand more about APT’s customers.

Research then followed using a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques to better understand existing and potential customers.

Insight: Amongst the different audience groups, we gained an in-depth understanding of their expectations, influences, information needs, and even executional do’s and dont’s. As well as a deeper understanding of their satisfaction and the likelihood of repeat bookings.

One of several focus groups
(faces pixelated to maintain the privacy of respondents) 

The new UK positioning. Developed following the testing of 3 alternative strategies.


It’s APT’s attention to detail in their personal service that truly sets them apart.

By really understanding the audience’s major motivations and expectations, we created the new ‘Delight in every detail’ positioning as the basis for a new creative platform, and to help guide their future marketing plans. 

Highly targeted TV ad – aired via Sky Adsmart and VOD.


Following the creation of the new brand positioning, we were then tasked with bringing it to life across the brand’s customer, and trade, touchpoints. With an added challenge that the existing logo, colours, strapline had to be retained.

Driving awareness, enquiries and leads: Including a highly targeted (and cost effective) TV ad via Sky Adsmart, with a playout that supported new press and digital advertising in key titles. We also created a library of key assets and marketing templates for APT to use longer term.

The ‘Delight in every detail’ idea is illustrated via striking macro photography of objects relevant to each destination. Balanced with product info and call to action.

Results chevron


Successfully established a distinctive style and position for APT in the UK improving response and conversion rates from media.

The benefit led approach and striking imagery elevated comms above the market noise and was adopted for communications across all touchpoints.

Succinctly and clearly communicated the brand for consistency amongst internal departments.

Is now a platform for communicating and differentiating APT amongst crucial (and previously confused) trade buyers.