Shops Emerge In Cruise Line’s Media Review

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the Miami-based parent company of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, has winnowed its $40 million media account search to five contenders.
The list includes the cruise company’s two incumbent agencies, McKinney & Silver in Raleigh, N.C., which handles RCI; and Harris Drury Cohen in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which handles Celebrity, said client representative Gloria Jacawasco.
McKinney will team with Western International Media of New York and its subsidiary, Media Partnership in Norwalk, Conn., their first alliance on the cruise business. HDC is teaming with Media Edge in New York. The two have an existing partnership on the Celebrity business.
Horizon Media and DeWitt Media, both New York, and Carat ICG, Atlanta, round out the list, Jacawasco said.
Consultant Jan Apple of Minnetonka, Minn., is handling the review.
The client will visit all five shops in the coming weeks, and there is no firm deadline for a decision. That is based, in part, on the fact that the dates for the visits to the agencies have yet to be finalized.
The winning agency’s contract will kick in this October, when parent RCCL’s media buying year begins.
The two cruise lines merged last summer and began the review late last year as a way to enhance the power of their combined media budget. According to Competitive Media Reporting, RCI spent $53 million on advertising and Celebrity $19 million in 1997.
Parent RCCL spent $10 million during this year’s Super Bowl. The company used the game to launch a new campaign by HDC for Celebrity, positioning the brand as the avatar of luxury sea travel. –with Katy Eckmann