Carnival Corporation Picks PHD as Its International Media Agency of Record

Decision expands the existing relationship

The world's largest cruise company has chosen Omnicom's PHD as its media agency of record for the United States and the United Kingdom, effectively consolidating its business in what the press release calls "two of the world's largest regions for cruise vacations."

The decision by Carnival Corporation follows a competitive review in which PHD beat out several unnamed agencies representing all major holding companies to handle media duties for all 10 of the parent company's travel brands including Fathom, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises U.K. and Seabourn. Zenith Optimedia had been the incumbent on the Holland America account.

PHD first won AOR duties on the primary Carnival brand in a 2013 review after incumbent Havas Media bowed out. The client launched a comprehensive review early this year due, at least in part, to a desire to shave millions off its international media budget. Prior to this move, PHD had worked on the Carnival Cruise and Cunard Lines brands in the U.S.; its international teams will immediately begin a period of transition as they prepare to handle traditional, digital and social media as well as analytics in both regions.

Carnival has also recently reviewed its creative agency partners, sending the Seabourn account to New York's Figliulo & Partners last November. Arnold Worldwide remains Carnival Cruise Lines' creative agency of record after winning a 2008 review that also saw the media business go to parent company Havas.

"Carnival Cruise Line and Cunard Line in the U.S. have been our partner for three years," said PHD U.S. CEO Nathan Brown. "Now we welcome additional Carnival Corporation brands that operate in North America and the UK. We cannot wait to see our brands grow together." The Omnicom network's New York office will serve as the hub of its operations on this account.

"Bringing together our brands to work with a world class agency like PHD enables us to further enhance our digital and traditional media strategies to grow demand for cruising as the world's best vacation choice," said Carnival Corporation chief strategy officer Josh Leibowitz.

Last year, Carnival spent $116 million in measured media to promote its seven brands in the U.S. and the U.K.