Suissa Miller Gets $20-25 Mil. Princess Business

Princess Cruises has awarded its estimated $20-25 million account to Suissa Miller here following a review that also included co-finalists McCann-Erickson, L.A., and Lowe Lintas & Partners, New York. J. Walter Thompson, Chicago, was the incumbent.

The two-month search was sparked by the arrival earlier this year of Todd Putman, a former Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble marketing executive who joined the cruise line as vice president of marketing.

“If the candidates we had are a reflection of the ad industry, the industry is very healthy,” said Putman. Suissa Miller provided physical proximity and a creative idea consistent with a developing new positioning for the line, he added.

Recent Princess marketing has focused on the concept of choice.

Putman said, “We are in a unique position to offer a customized, more personal experience on board.”

With the win, Suissa makes up for the loss two weeks ago of its estimated $20 million Jenny Craig business, which went to Doner, Costa Mesa, Calif., after a review. Billings for Princess should increase significantly in the next few years.

Princess currently operates nine ships, but is building an additional six vessels, all of which will be on the water by 2004. That growth will double the line’s capacity from about 15,000 berths to 30,000.

“We are going to want to put a lot of marketing muscle behind” that expansion, said Putman.

The cruise marketer has also launched a separate review for its collateral and direct-response business, following a split with collateral and DR incumbent Kaiser-McEwen here over what a Princess rep called “creative and other differences.” That contest is expected to conclude within a few weeks.

The Princess assignment, Suissa said, “is going to make for fun store checks” as well as a chance to create the attention-getting, “brand response” campaigns upon which the shop has built its reputation.