Cruise Lines Call 8 Shops For TV Buying

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Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruise Lines are sending out questionnaires for a review of their $40 million TV buying account.

A spokeswoman for Royal Caribbean said the cruise lines are contacting a total of eight agencies, including Royal Caribbean incumbent McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C., and Celebrity incumbent Harris Drury Cohen, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Agencies contacted said Jan Apple, with Gloriously Independent Media Consultants, Minnetonka, Minn., is handling the review. Ms. Apple could not be reached for comment.

LINES MERGED

Celebrity and Royal Caribbean merged last summer. Celebrity is being positioned as a premium cruise line in its advertising; Royal Caribbean is positioned as a "contemporary" cruise line, said the spokeswoman.

Executives met with their roster agencies in mid-January to discuss marketing plans for 1998, and one person who attended those meetings said the agencies discussed creative ideas and there does not appear to be any danger of the creative business being involved in the review.

Some speculation is the media review does not bode well for McKinney, which is said to have had problems with its recent $5 million sponsorship of the "Royal Caribbean International & Celebrity Cruises Super Bowl XXXII Halftime Show."

DEADLINE MISSED

Executives close to McKinney said the shop was charged with creating new advertising for the game but missed the deadline, and had to run a slightly tweaked existing ad.

McKinney CEO Don Maurer said, "The Super Bowl idea came about fairly late in the game [in September]. The plan all along was to introduce a new campaign in 1998, but the timing for the [Super Bowl] ad wasn't prudent for production. Iit would be trying to rush something."

He said the business was stable, and the marketer decided as part of the merger that they would look at many areas of the company for efficiencies.

Royal Caribbean have said McKinney is safe on the business.

WestWayne, Tampa, which does Royal Caribbean's international advertising, is not effected by the review. Harris Drury Cohen, just launched a new campaign for the cruise line last week.

Contributing: Alice Z. Cuneo, Chuck Ross, Jeffery D. Zbar.

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