Carnival Cruise Line Seeks a New Creative Agency of Record After 9 Years With Arnold

Incumbent will not defend the business

The company has reduced its marketing budget in recent years.
Carnival Cruise

The World’s Most Popular Cruise Line (trademark) wants to shake up its marketing lineup with a new U.S. creative agency of record.

Carnival Cruise Line, the most popular brand owned by parent company Carnival Corporation & PLC, has launched a full creative review after working with the New York and Boston offices of Arnold Worldwide for nine years. The incumbent will not participate in the review.

“We can confirm that we have initiated an RFP to identify a new creative agency and are parting ways with Arnold Worldwide following a very successful and fruitful nine year partnership,” a Carnival representative said. “The relationship with Arnold will be ending in the fall and we wish them every success in the future.”

“Since 2008, Arnold Worldwide and Carnival Cruise Line have enjoyed an incredibly impactful partnership built on a shared ambition to create ‘Fun for All. All for Fun,'” added an agency spokesperson. “We are truly proud of the work and momentum we’ve created together the past nine years and we can confirm that we have mutually decided to part ways. Our relationship with Carnival will be ending this fall, and we wish them the best of success in the future.”

Several parties told Adweek today that the agency first learned that it would be losing the account after the Memorial Day holiday.

Havas agencies Arnold and MPG won the last review in 2008, beating out fellow finalists Deutsch and an IPG unit consisting of McCann and UM. Five years later, Omnicom’s PHD successfully pitched for the media portion of the business after Havas bowed out, and last year the client expanded its remit to include all of North America and the United Kingdom.

That review came weeks after Carnival Cruise Line named P&G and Las Vegas Sands veteran Kathy Mayor as its new CMO, reporting directly to president Christine Duffy.

According to Kantar Media, the larger Carnival Corporation spent more than $26 million on measured media promoting Carnival Cruise Lines in 2016, an increase over the $20 million budget for 2015.

These numbers are considerably lower than the $70-80 million estimate listed during the 2008 review. Since then, Carnival has dramatically decreased its spend year after year and moved into new areas like wearable tech.

Former Israeli Army lieutenant colonel Ted Arison launched Carnival in 1972 and went on to redefine the cruise industry, as detailed in Adweek’s recent brand profile. And while Carnival remains the world’s largest such company in terms of passenger volume, chief competitor Royal Caribbean surpassed its total passenger capacity in late 2014.