TUI to reposition Thomson and First Choice brands

First%20Choice%20logoTUI, the travel company, is overhauling its marketing strategy after announcing plans to reposition First Choice and Thomson to target different markets.

The company is planning to use First Choice as its family brand while Thomson will target older, more affluent consumers. The plans, which were revealed on marketingweek.co.uk, aim to shift the company away from “commodity package” holidays and more upmarket.

Andrew Laurillard, TUI head of brand strategy, says it will abandon its previous marketing model, including the price-led New Year campaigns, in favour of an emphasis on branding.

The company is also looking at a sponsorship deal with a “major” football club. Thomson sponsored Tottenham Hotspur between 2002 and 2006.

Earlier this month, the company consolidated its £16m advertising business into Beattie McGuinness Bungay, although Laurillard says the agency has different creative teams and account managers that work on the two brands.

Laurillard says: “First Choice and Thomas Cook have spent £300m on marketing over the past five years, and only 5% of that has been on strategic objectives – but now we are going to focus on creating clear reasons for choosing the brands.

“We are going to develop our brand equity and leave Thomas Cook stranded in the middle.”

Laurillard adds that a re-view of the “sub-brand architecture” and the secondary brands owned by Thomson and First Choice, including Jetsave, Sovereign and Hayes and Jarvis, is ongoing.

The company, which has 1,100 shops, has revealed it is closing 100 branches in a bid to increase savings, as a result of the merger, to £150m.

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