Carnival Splits with AOR Arnold, Launches Full Creative Review

By Patrick Coffee 

Carnival Cruise Line is looking for a new U.S. creative agency for the first time since 2008.

A spokesperson for incumbent AOR Arnold Worldwide offered the following statement to Adweek:

“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.’ 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.”


The client later offered this statement after our story ran:

“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. The relationship with Arnold will be ending in the fall and we wish them every success in the future.”

Carnival Cruise is the most popular brand owned by parent company Carnival Corporation, which employs several agencies including BBDO Atlanta and Figliulo & Partners on the Seabourn line.

Havas originally won both media and creative on the business by beating out Deutsch and McCann, but bowed out of the 2013 media review that went to PHD. Late last year, the client consolidated its global buying account with the Omnicom shop.

The reasons for the latest review are unclear, though Carnival did name a new CMO just over one year ago. It’s worth noting that the account is worth far less today than it was when Arnold won; according to Kantar Media, Carnival spent less than $27 million promoting its biggest brand last year. 2008 estimates pegged the value of the account at $70-80 million.

This is a little odd given that the cruise industry is apparently growing—as is Carnival’s stock value.