Royal Caribbean Puts Media Into Review

Last Major Search in 2007 Created a Mindshare-JWT Team

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Royal Caribbean International is conducting an agency search for its $40 million to $60 million global media business, according to people familiar with the matter.

The media-only review is a departure from the brand's approach in its last major search in 2007. At that time, the company selected WPP siblings Mindshare and JWT. It's understood that the review doesn't change the brand's relationship with JWT, the cruise line's creative agency.

Neither Royal Caribbean nor Mindshare immediately responded to calls for comment.

Although half of the company's fleet of 22 ships is in Europe, the focus of the account will be on the U.S. and Canada markets, noted an executive close to the review.

Royal Caribbean, one brand within Royal Caribbean Cruises, which also owns Celebrity Cruises, plans to spend $300 million over the next three years to update ships with new features and technology. According to Royal Caribbean's SEC filing for the first quarter, net income was up 4.8% to $91.6 million, from $87.4 million during the same period last year.

The earnings report added that marketing, selling and administrative expenses for 2011 increased 17.6% to $248 million from $211 million in 2010. The report stated: "The increase is primarily due to an increase in marketing activities for television media and internet advertisements due to the timing of these activities as compared to 2010. To a lesser extent, the increase is also due to an increase in marketing and selling expenses associated with our international expansion."

The company, encompassing multiple brands, spent about $72 million on U.S. measured media in 2010, the same amount it spent in 2009, according to Kantar Media.

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