Carnival Eyes Consultants for Review

NEW YORK Carnival Cruise Lines is interviewing prospective consultants to manage its marketing services review and hopes to hire one by early next week, a Carnival representative said today.

The review includes traditional creative and media duties, now handled by Omnicom Group’s CooperDDB in Coral Gables, Fla., interactive duties at Avenue A/Razorfish in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and direct marketing duties at CooperDDB (print) and in-house (e-mail), according to Carnival.

Once a consultant is hired, the Miami-based client will invite selected agencies to participate, including CooperDDB. Carnival hopes to complete the process by mid-May.

The company spent more than $65 million in major measured media on the brand in the first 11 months of 2007 and nearly $80 million in 2006, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Those figures exclude online spending.

Key decision makers in the review include Ruben Rodriguez, executive vice president of marketing and guest experience, and vice president of marketing services Christine Arnholt. Rodriguez, a former partner and managing director at the Miami office of Boston Consulting Group, joined Carnival in October.

Carnival is the second cruise line operator to review its ad account in the past four months. Royal Caribbean launched a review of its estimated $90 million global marketing services account in September and in December awarded the business to a WPP Group team led by JWT and MindShare.

Carnival offers three- to 18-day cruises via a fleet of 22 ships that operate in the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe, among other regions. The company plans to add three more ships by 2011. Other Carnival Corp. brands include Princess Cruise Line, Holland America and Seabourn.