Royal Caribbean Narrows Search

NEW YORK Royal Caribbean has selected at least four New York shops to pitch its ad account: WPP Group’s JWT, Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day and Interpublic Group’s DraftFCB, sources said.

Both creative and media duties are in play and each creative agency is partnering with a media shop. JWT, for example, is pitching with sister shop MindShare, said sources.

Havas units Arnold in Boston and MPG, both in Boston, have handled the client’s business. Sources said Arnold is out of contention; MPG’s fate is unknown.

Royal Caribbean, which last year spent more than $75 million in major measured media, has scheduled final presentations for mid-November, according to sources. The contenders declined to comment, and Arnold officials could not be reached. A Royal Caribbean representative offered no immediate information on the cut to four shops.

A Cleveland-based consultancy, Rojek Consulting Group, is managing the search. The process is expected to be completed by December.

In confirming the review last month, client svp, marketing Alice Norsworthy attributed the move to “best practices,” adding that “our success in building our business and our brand is dependent on identifying the optimal resources aligned to meet our global marketing needs, and developing strong partner relationships and effective teaming models across all of our agency providers.”

In recent years, the cruise line’s TV spots have often featured the Iggy Pop tune “Lust for Life” as its soundtrack.

In January, Arnold lost Royal Caribbean sibling line Celebrity Cruises, which spends $30 million annually on ads, to Element 79 in Chicago, after a review. (MPG continues to handle Celebrity’s media chores, however.) Arnold had worked on Celebrity since 2002.