CUNARD:  175th Anniversary Celebrations in Halifax, Boston, and New York City

Cunard's 17th anniversary

MGA Media Group was tasked to develop and execute a high-impact consumer and media campaign for Cunard’s 175th Anniversary in 2015 centered on Queen Mary 2’s commemorative Transatlantic Crossing which recreated the original voyage of the Britannia from Halifax to Liverpool in 1840. The intention was to pay homage to the company’s storied past while continuing to create history and build its legacy. Organize key events in Halifax, Boston, and New York City which highlight the line’s storied history and brand legacy, and generate national and local news coverage.

Cunard’s 175th Anniversary posed an exciting challenge, as it required creating unique, out-of-the-box celebratory events within three key markets over the course of four days. Each event needed to highlight Cunard’s distinct relationship with the host city, and the events were subject to a restricted time frame and limited budget.

In addition to organizing commemorative events throughout each day Queen Mary 2 was in port, MGA Media Group was also responsible for creating eye-catching harbor spectacles for the public to view.

In order to deliver these initiatives, MGA worked closely with local governments and nonprofit organizations to create lasting relationships within Halifax, Boston, and New York City.

Cunard in Halifax

In Halifax, these relationships led to a land dedication entitled the Samuel Cunard Quay and the inauguration of The Samuel Cunard Prize for Vision, Courage and Creativity. In addition, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic unveiled two exhibitions, the “Samuel Cunard Retrospective” and the re-launch of the “Age of Steam.”

For the arrival of Queen Mary 2 in Halifax on July 10, 2015, MGA worked with The Port of Halifax to provide sea and land access to national and local camera crews as Queen Mary 2 arrived into port. Interview opportunities with Cunard executives and tours of Queen Mary 2 were also arranged for the media and VIPs. Upon departure, Queen Mary 2 conducted a difficult, counter-clockwise navigation of the harbor, joined by a flotilla of tugboats and ships, as The Royal Canadian Navy saluted from the Frigate HMCS Montreal and Royal Canadian Sea Cadets fired salute from shore.

Cunard in Boston

On July 13 in Boston, MGA Media Group orchestrated the transfer of a large scale (13-foot) vintage ship model of Cunard’s Servia (launched in 1881) from the Science Museum in the UK, to be presented to the owner of the newly-renovated Cunard Building. In addition, MGA arranged for Captain Kevin Oprey, Master of Queen Mary 2, to throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park. For Queen Mary 2’s departure from Boston, MGA coordinated a spectacular fireworks display, with the city of Boston, in the skies above city harbor.

Cunard’s North American celebrations culminated in New York City on July 14 with Queen Mary 2 sailing under the Verrazano Bridge at dawn accompanied by a flotilla of historic vessels. Throughout the day, group tours and media opportunities were arranged for local and hosted media, as well as a Plaque and Key Dedication Ceremony for Cunard’s military and government partners onboard the ship. A special Carnival Corporation activation was held at the New York Stock Exchange in honor of Cunard’s anniversary, and a large VIP and media event took place in Battery Gardens that evening with a jaw-dropping theatrical light show and production emanating from Queen Mary 2, positioned offshore from lower Manhattan, for event guests and the public at large to enjoy.


Cunard’s 175th Anniversary events generated global news coverage, with more than 20 million broadcast viewers, 62 million print impressions and over a 1.1 billion online unique visitors in North America alone. The Huffington Post included an image of Queen Mary 2’s light show in its recap of “Pictures of the Week,” highlighting the best images from around the world.

Media coverage highlights included: two Associated Press Stories, multiple New York Times placements, CNN International; CNN Travel, Travel + Leisure, Afar, Yahoo! Travel, The Toronto Sun, Miami Herald, Dallas Morning News, The Boston Globe (featured in three different stories); Boston Herald; The Huffington Post UK; The Chronicle Herald; CBC News; CTV News Atlantic; Radio Canada (French broadcast); Global News; NY1, WCBS-TV News; WNYW-NY (Fox), Peter Greenberg, CBS Radio; WBZ-AM (CBS); WCVB-TV (ABC) and New England Cable News