We Hear: Royal Caribbean Review Down to Three

By Patrick Coffee 

The world’s biggest cruise lines are in agency review mode.

Two weeks ago, Norwegian (former AOR Martin) announced that it would follow Royal Caribbean in launching a review of its creative and media business.

The reviews have something in common: in both cases, the incumbent AOR will not be participating. (JWT does reportedly plan to maintain some role on the account, which has been spread across offices on multiple continents.)

The Norwegian pitch just started, but Royal Caribbean already resolved its UK review by choosing TBWA\London. Now we hear that the company is very close to picking a winner from the three remaining candidates for stateside creative work.

The nameless agencies still standing:

  • This shop may seem to hold a significant advantage due to the fact that its creative leader worked on the business at another agency on a different coast a decade ago. (Current Royal president/COO Adam Goldstein worked on the client’s international business at the time, so he might favor going with a familiar party.)
  • The second agency has been interested in the cruise space for some time: it was one of the finalists in the review that saw Norwegian go from GSD&M to Martin in 2011. While it has not had a cruise line on its client roster in the past, it does have experience creating emotional campaigns for travel brands in case Royal Caribbean wants to imitate Carnival’s Super Bowl work by BBDO.
  • The company’s third and perhaps most risky option is an agency that has set itself apart by specializing in self-referential, digitally-powered ads that make fun of advertising itself. The agency also knows its way around celebrity spokespeople, though edgy/famous doesn’t seem like the most obvious direction for such a client to take…
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