The four finalists for Royal Caribbean's creative account are all smaller than incumbent JWT, and that's by design.
In its initial request for proposals, the cruise line expressed a desire for what sounded like a midsize shop. "We don't want to be your biggest client, but we don't want to be your smallest either," the RFP noted. "We do want to know that we will be an important client."
The contenders are Deutsch in New York, Mullen in Boston, Droga5 in New York and 22squared in Atlanta, a Royal Caribbean representative confirmed today. Final pitches will take place this week at Royal Caribbean's headquarters in Miami.
The winner will succeed JWT, which has handled the business since late 2007. A selection is expected early next month.
The company spends about $80 million in media annually, according to Kantar Media.
In a related move, Royal Caribbean is reviewing its media planning and buying business, now handled by Mindshare. That process, however, is not as far along as the creative one. Royal Caribbean executives are mulling a list of semifinalists, with a cut to finalists expected next week.
The media search won't be completed until June.