Consultant Confirms Norwegian Finalists

The consultancy managing Norwegian Cruise Line’s creative and media review has confirmed the five finalists, noting that Crispin Porter + Bogusky was never among them, despite what multiple sources told Adweek last week.

Search consultancy Pile + Co. contacted Crispin at the initial stages of the review process, but the MDC Partners agency declined to participate, said Pile president Judy Neer. Earlier, a Crispin representative also said that the shop had declined an invitation.

The five finalists, according to Neer, are WPP Group’s Grey in New York; Interpublic Group units McCann Erickson in New York, Mullen in Boston and The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va.; and the incumbent, Omnicom Group’s GSD&M Idea City in Austin, Texas.  

Client executives briefed the contenders this week at Norwegian’s headquarters in Miami, said sources. Work sessions are slated for late February and the finals are scheduled for mid-March, according to Norwegian’s initial request for proposals.

Major media spending on the brand approached $20 million last year, according to Nielsen.
That figure does not include online expenditures.

In the RFP, Norwegian indicated a preference for an East Coast-based shop. The document also sought examples of past success at collaborating with multiple agencies, given that the cruise operator also employs shops for search media (Resolution Media), Web development (Sapient) and database management (Epsilon). Those assignments aren’t in play.