Accounts in Review: 11 Million Reasons Why Royal Caribbean Needs Repeat Customers

The cruise line company with "Caribbean" in its name wants to own that region again.

That's a key challenge for agencies pursuing Royal Caribbean's creative business, according to a request for proposals distributed to interested shops. Another challenge? Getting one-time cruisers to come back. Some 11 million people have taken trips on Royal Caribbean but have never returned, the RFP notes.

Ah, but perhaps the biggest obstacle to success for Royal Caribbean and the cruise industry in general are high-profile accidents and nasty norovirus outbreaks. And that's nothing advertising can fix. More than a dozen agencies received the RFP, and replies were due back this week. Based on submissions, the company will narrow the field to five to seven shops, which executives will visit before cutting the list to four finalists. The search is expected to conclude in May.

1

Unilever: Global Media

Media spend: $5 billion
Incumbents: Mindshare, Initiative, PHD
Contenders: Incumbents, possibly others
Decision: December

2

Hershey: Creative

Media spend: $650 million
Incumbents: Arnold (traditional), Havas Worldwide (digital)
Contenders: Incumbents, undisclosed others
Completion: April

3

Sears/Kmart: Creative, Media

Media spend: $560 million
Incumbents: Sears: mcgarrybowen, Havas Worldwide, Havas Media; Kmart: FCB, Havas Media
Contenders: Teams from Interpublic, Publicis Groupe and Havas, led by FCB, Leo Burnett and Havas Worldwide, respectively
Completion: May

4

JCPenney: Media

Media spend: $430 million
Incumbent: OMD
Contenders: Incumbent, others to be determined
Completion: April

5

U.S. Army: Creative, Media

Media spend: $180 million
Incumbents: McCann Erickson, UM
Contenders: Incumbents, undetermined others
Completion: March 2016

6

Royal Caribbean: Creative

Media spend: $80 million
Incumbent: JWT
Contenders: Incumbent, undetermined others
Completion: May

7

Scotts Miracle-Gro: Media

Media spend: $80 million
Incumbents: MEC, Active International
Contenders: MEC, Horizon Media, Zenith Media, Mediahub, Havas Media
Consultant: Pile + Co.
Completion: March

8

Ameriprise Financial: Creative

Media spend: $40 million
Incumbent: R/GA
Contenders: McCann Erickson, FCB Garfinkel, Zimmerman Advertising, Merkley + Partners
Consultant: Pile + Co.
Completion: March