Yesterday I was in Dallas, Texas, for a special event/television ad shoot for our client, Carnival Cruise Lines. The shoot was for a commercial debuting Dec. 25 in support of Carnival’s new ad campaign created by the line’s new ad firm, Arnold International, that’s set to start in late January.

Somebody, and it’s not clear whether it was someone from Arnold or Carnival, decided it would be neat to combine a public event with the commercial shoot. Countless man-hours and dollars later, the event turned out to be a huge success, with more than 2,000 Dallas residents and families turning out to hear some live music, sign up for free cruise giveaways and take part in a “Fun Crowd” event featuring giant beach balls.

Here’s what it looked like:

When it appeared that the viral-marketing firm hired to provide — well, viral marketing for the event — was not going to get the video assets it needed to push content to the Web immediately, I took the initiative and bought a Flip camcorder, figuring I could produce some video that would look all “virally” because I’m not a videographer and because the Flip is simple to operate and was designed specifically to produce short video pieces for the Web.

My colleague from Carnival also arrived in Dallas armed with a Flip and between the two of us, we captured all of the video the VM firm needed to produce daily video packages. We discussed with the VM team what shots they needed and we would shoot some and then dash to our hotel rooms to upload the clips. We provided enough content each day for the VM team to create content Friday, Saturday and, by the time we arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport for the flight home, the final video you just watched.

The video shot by the ad agency would not have been available until later this week. The B-roll shot for distribution to the TV stations would not have been available until today at the soonest, so the Flip cams ended up being the salvation of the entire (and expensive) viral-marketing campaign.

Now we get to do the whole thing again this coming weekend in Philadelphia for the second commercial in the series.