Arnold Cuts 5% in Boston

BOSTON Arnold is cutting about 5 percent of its staff here, roughly 25-30 employees, as it braces for the departure of the Royal Caribbean account, sources said.

The layoffs at the Havas-owned agency’s headquarters are being made across various departments this week, and the shop’s other offices aren’t affected, per sources.

An Arnold representative declined comment.

Royal Caribbean’s $70 million business, held by Arnold (creative) and MPG (media) for a decade, is in review, but those shops are not defending.

In contention for creative duties are Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, IPG’s DraftFCB and WPP’s JWT, teamed with holding company siblings MediaVest, Initiative and MindShare, respectively. (A fourth team, Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day and PHD, exited the review today.) A decision is expected next month.

Another smaller Arnold client, retailer Talbot’s, is also in play, but that impending loss was not a contributing factor to the layoffs, per sources.

On the plus side, Arnold (pitching with Nitro in London) won the global Volvo account in April. Even so, other big new-business wins have proven elusive.

Arnold has not had a major layoff since last November, when it cut roughly 40 staffers in a move the shop said was mainly designed to boost efficiency.