Royal Caribbean Cruises moves $12m media account to Blue 449

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 13 January 2017
Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) has appointed Blue 449 (until recently Match Media) as its media agency of record after a competitive pitch to consolidate the account, AdNews can reveal.

The account, which had an ad spend of $12 million in the past year, according to Nielsen figures, was previously served by a roster of agencies, with Slingshot handling traditional media and content, iProspect looking after digital and C3 Media as the print specialist.

Blue 449 will work alongside creative partner Hulsbosch and PR agency D’Arcy, who have worked on RCL since its launch in Australia.

RCL is an American global cruise company based in Miami, Florida. In Australia and New Zealand, the company offers three cruise liner brands, Royal Carribean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.

A secretive media pitch was called last October, a few months after Kathryn Valk, ANZ director of marketing and sales, joined the cruise liner company from Ardent Leisure, a client of Blue 449.

“Our company had successfully partnered with a matrix of media partners to deliver our business objectives since our launch in Australia in 2008. Since that time, our business and fleet has grown enormously, combined with the fact that the consumer and media landscape has radically changed, so it was the right time to compare alternative models in the market," Valk says.

"What impressed us about Blue 449 was the delivery of all the media services under one roof in a highly integrated fashion. In addition, their commitment to data and analytics to drive business outcome was compelling."

Valk says that by consolidating media duties into one agency, she hopes it will provide "more actionable insights and control of our future growth in an exciting time of sector growth within our industry".

"I would like to thank the team at Slingshot, iProspect and C3 for their dedicated support whilst they together took the journey with us, to get us where we are today and we of course wish them all the best in the future," she adds.

For Blue 449, the win is bright start to the year in the first week as a new brand.

"We join the RCL team at a time when their product is strong, and they remain committed to bringing the biggest and best cruise ships to our doorstep," Blue 449 CEO John Preston says.

"The consolidation of the business allows us to exert the full potential of Blue 449’s offering to help RCL’s business continue to grow, by creating work that works."

Slingshot had worked with RCL for the past two years and was instrumental in integrating the brand into various TV properties, including the creation of the brand-funded TV show Tom, Rach and Rosso Go Cruising on Seven, The Morning Show and on My Kitchen Rules, where the liner was a sponsor.

Slingshot CEO Simon Rutherford says: “We’re proud of the work we have done together and are sad to see Royal Caribbean leave the agency, we wish them well for the future”.

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