Cunard Line Sets Sail

Client Begins Contacting Ad Agencies About $11 Mil. Account Resigned by Bates

NEW YORK–Cunard Line is conducting a review for creative and media duties on its estimated $11 million global account, recently resigned by Bates.
The Miami cruise line has contacted five shops, sources said. They are: Ryder & Schild and Crispin Porter & Bogusky, both in Miami; Paradigm Communications in Tampa, Fla.; and M&C Saatchi and Black Ink (the business-to-business ad unit of Wells BDDP), both New York. Peter Bates, Cunard’s executive vp, sales and marketing, confirmed the review. All agencies declined comment.
The review comes at a time of flux for Cunard. Sources said the Norwegian owner, Kvaerner, wants to sell the struggling company. The Cruise Lines International Association reports that Cunard trails the top three players (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Princess) in both number of ships and berths. Also, the company recently hired a new director of advertising, Debra Gilbert.
A Bates representative said the agency resigned Cunard because the ad budget had been reduced and “it was not financially feasible for us to continue.” The account billed $20 million when Bates won it in 1994.
Sources said the client is torn between selecting an international agency (such as M&C Saatchi) or a local shop. Black Ink’s Richard Dale will lead that shop’s pitch, said sources. Dale used to head the Cunard account at Bates. Bates’ most recent ads were tagged: “Where else in the world.”