Anomaly Set to Win Carnival Cruise Creative Account

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Carnival Corp. President-CEO Arnold Donald gives his keynote address at CES 2017.
Carnival Corp. President-CEO Arnold Donald gives his keynote address at CES 2017. Credit: Courtesy CTA

Carnival Cruise Line is set to name MDC Partners' Anomaly its new creative agency of record, following a competitive review, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The agencies in the final round of the review, which was run by SRI, included Anomaly, Droga5 and R/GA, these people say. Representatives from Anomaly and SRI declined to comment. Havas' Arnold previously handled the account but did not defend the business.

Not counting the costs of buying ad inventory, the budget on the account comprises some $60 million, according to people familiar with the business.

Anomaly, which was also recently named agency of record for the online direct auto retailer Vroom, will take on the Carnival account at a time when the cruise industry is flourishing. Some 25.3 million people are expected to cruise this year, up from 22.34 million in 2014 and 17.8 million in 2009, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.

Carnival Cruise parent Carnival Corp. expects revenue to increase 3.5% in 2017.

But the cruise industry continues to face challenges attracting younger generations. Carnival has been focusing on adding innovations designed to appeal to millennials, such as the Ocean Medallion wearable technology, which it unveiled at CES this year. The wireless, personalized device is available to all passengers without additional cost and can be used to open cabin doors, make payments, locate family and friends and more.

Last spring, Carnival consolidated its media agency business in North America and the U.K. with Omnicom's PHD.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said 72andSunny was among the agencies in the final round of the review for the Carnival Cruise Line account. The agency was in initial discussions but not the last stage.

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