Thomson focuses on modernisation

Thomson is launching a £5.5m integrated campaign led by television advertising focusing on its new Dreamliner aircraft and how the travel company is modernising the package holiday.

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The tour operator is continuing with its strategy of launching its main brand campaign early in the autumn rather than following the traditional post Christmas drive prevalent in the travel industry.

The TV ad features nostalgic clips of holidaymakers from the past 50 years projected on to the state of the art Dreamliner and breaks during The X Factor on ITV1 this Saturday (22 September).

Other activity under the “Holidays Just Got Better” banner include the creation of a campaign hub for tourists to learn more about Thomson’s holiday improvements and the creation of “photomosaic” banners in Thomson’s high street travel agents. These will initially feature photo-montages of 780 individual photos of past holidays making one giant picture – but Thomson will start encouraging holiday-makers to submit their own images via Facebook.

Speaking to Marketing Week, marketing director Jeremy Ellis explained the strategy behind the campaign and its timing.

He said: “Last year we managed to cut-through with our message really clearly in an uncluttered market. The timing gives us a much better share of voice.

“We want to get our message across of how we are modernising as a brand and business. Having this opportunity at this time of year gives us a chance to make our message stand out.”

He added that the campaign’s emotional approach made sense as it “opened people up to listen to your message” and pointed out that a holiday was one of the most emotional products people buy.

Ellis said that the campaign, created by BMB has evolved from last year’s “Quality time” strapline and added: “People now understand that Thomson as a brand knows how important holiday time really is. Last year we set out our stall that we want to own quality time and this year shows why you can have quality time with Thomson.”

Ellis said that he expected the marketing to generate some early summer 2013 bookings and drive Winter holiday bookings but stresses “this is about the brand and getting people to change preconceptions and beliefs and is not just about driving media sales. It’s just the beginning of our modernisation story”

Thomson first started promoting the Dreamliner, which doesn’t start flying until next year, with press ads in April. The aircraft offers more leg room and increased fuel efficiency among other features.

The company will also continue to emphasise the message 90 per cent of its hotels are exclusive properties.

Rival tour operator Thomas Cook has just confirmed Mike Hoban as director of marketing, brand and customer insight, as first revealed by Marketing Week.

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