The cruise operator placed its account into review in January, shortly after the loss of its senior VP-sales and marketing, Vicki Freed, to rival Royal Caribbean International, a brand Arnold once handled.
Executives familiar with the matter say that 10 to 15 agencies from the five major holding companies (Omnicom Group, WPP Group, Publicis Groupe, Havas and Interpublic Group of Cos.) were invited to pitch the account, as was the incumbent, Coral Gables, Fla.-based CooperDDB.
The final round saw a face-off between a Havas team comprised of Arnold and MPG; McCann Erickson and Universal McCann; and Interpublic sibling Deutsch, executives familiar with the matter said.
Agency spokespeople and representatives for Carnival could not be immediately reached, while consultancy Ark Advisors, which oversaw the pitch, did not return calls.
Carnival Corp. spent $75 million on U.S. measured media in 2007 to market its flagship Carnival Cruise Lines brand, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
Other well-known cruise brands in the Carnival Corp. portfolio include the Cunard, Holland America and Princess Cruise lines.
"We love this category, and we are really proud to have the opportunity to work with the market leader," said Pam Hamlin, president, Arnold Boston.
As part of the new assignment, the shop will handle general advertising, along with collateral design, direct marketing and digital services.