Carnival Cruise Lines Eyes 3 Shops for U.K. Account

The U.S. incumbent is not among the finalists

For its expansion in the U.K. market, Carnival Cruise Lines won’t be using its U.S. agency.

Arnold handles Carnival’s U.S. creative account but isn’t among the finalists for the U.K. assignment, which is new and will be backed by an estimated $10 million in media spending.

The U.K. business contenders are M&C Saatchi, RKCR/Y&R, and Karmarama. Final presentations are slated for next month with a decision expected shortly thereafter. Ark Advisors in New York is managing the process.

The review coincides with a competitor’s search for a U.K. market agency. Royal Caribbean’s review began in October and also is believed to be in the late stages.

The Miami-based Carnival spends considerably more in media domestically, compared to other markets. U.S. media spending totaled nearly $60 million last year—up 33 percent from about $45 million in 2009, according to Nielsen. Those figures don’t include online spending.

Arnold and fellow Havas agency MPG have handled Carnival’s U.S. creative and media accounts, respectively, on the brand since 2008, when they won the business after a review. Ark managed that search as well. Ark did not return calls, but a Carnival representative confirmed the finalists and the timeframe for selecting an agency.