Costa Cruises, the largest Italian travel company and Europe’s n.1 cruise line, has won the Interactive Key Award for its website www.sonoappenatornato.it.

Now in its tenth year, the award is intended as recognition for the best websites designed in Italy and for the best interactive communication.  Widely acknowledged as one of the most prestigious and respected prizes in the field of web design and development, this annual event attracts users of communication, web agencies, media agencies, Web and Mobile Marketing operators and professionals.

Costa Cruises’ site www.sonoappenatornato.it was chosen in the “spare time” category on account of its creativity and spirit of innovation.  Online in Italy since March 4 this year, the site was designed by Agency.com and extends the concept behind the cruise line’s most recent TV advertising campaign (the slogan being “I’ve just got back”), with particular regard to the claim made in those ads.

The theme of the TV commercials – there are two different spots currently being shown in Italy on the main national networks, one of which features the Juventus footballers Amauri, Camoranesi, Chiellini and De Ceglie – is that a Costa cruise is such an incredible and rewarding experience that when you return to the daily routine you continue to savor the “dream vacation” atmosphere after the holiday has ended;  everyone knows that it’s par for the course for someone who has just got back from the Costa experience to have their head in the clouds or, to be more exact, on cloud nine!

This idea has been extended to the Internet, using the same ironic tone as the TV ads:  users at www.sonoappenatornato.it are invited to upload their photos, videos and holiday stories, so as to provide “evidence” of the way you daydream after a Costa cruise.  Site visitors have two options:  they can post their own photographs and use them to create fun images and videos using various “windows” referring to life on board for cruisers; otherwise, users can upload their own amateur videos directly; in either case the aim is to document the way they daydream when they’ve just got back from a Costa cruise.  The “evidence” provided can be shared with friends on “Facebook” or “MySpace”.

Costa Cruises has won the Interactive Key Award on 3 other occasions:  in 2006 for its international portal www.costacruise.com; in 2002 for its digital advertising campaign “Take a half-hour break and arrange your cruise at www.costacrociere.it”; and in 2001 for the website www.costacrociere.it.

Costa Cruises is at the forefront of the use of new technologies to communicate and interact directly with all web users.  One of the first Italian companies to make use of Web 2.0 technology – exploiting its potential to the full to arouse in the web surfer all the excitement of the cruise, conveying in advance the pleasure and enjoyment of this type of vacation and also reliving the memories after it has ended – Costa Cruises firmly believes in the effectiveness of online communication as a means of strengthening its ties with existing customers and forging links with new ones.  The Company’s recent web-based projects include Costa Web TV, blogs, channels on You Tube, the launch of the virtual cruise on Second Life, video FAQs and the website www.worldofcosta.com.