Thomas Cook, First Choice, consumer confidence: 5 things that mattered this week and why

Catch up on all the week’s big marketing news, including new campaigns from Thomas Cook and First Direct, and a Christmas dip in consumer confidence.

Thomas Cook brings back famous strapline

Thomas Cook is bringing back its famous ‘Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it’ strapline as part of a new family-driven marketing campaign.

It’s an interesting move by the travel brand, which can’t seem to make up its mind on whether to keep or scrap the strapline. The slogan was originally created in 1984 and was used in the company’s marketing until 1993, when it was dropped. It was then brought back in 2008 before being dropped once again five years later.

However, Chris Chalmers, marketing and ecommerce director at Thomas Cook UK, insists it’s an important brand asset for the business. He tells Marketing Week: “It’s a really powerful asset in terms of reminding people that we’re a much loved British travel brand.

“We asked customers across a range of lines which was the best articulation of what we’re trying to achieve – and that slogan was the number one response. It’s still very well recognised, there’s a lot of warmth towards it.”

This campaign also marks Thomas Cook’s first move into native television content. The tour operator originally intended to put together a digital mini-series for Channel 4’s digital All 4 platform, and flew out the young cast of The Secret Life of Five Year Olds to one of its resorts for a week-long holiday. But the content was so good Channel 4 decided to broadcast it. The episode will air on 28 December.

READ MORE: Thomas Cook brings back ‘Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it’ strapline, again

First Direct turns to Beyoncé director for new campaign

Thomas Cook wasn’t the only travel brand to launch a new campaign this week, with First Direct hoping an ad featuring a rapping family will help it stand out when it comes to new year holiday bookings.

The two-minute ad, which is helmed by a music video director who has worked with Beyonce and Ed Sheeran, is a bid for the brand to grab a larger slice of the all-inclusive holidays market.

Jeremy Ellis, First Choice owner TUI UK and Ireland’s marketing and customer experience director, believes the campaign is braver than its rivals’ efforts. “The ad really brings out the personality of First Choice in a fun way – a bit of cheekiness, a bit of youthfulness – which we thought was important to differentiate First Choice.

“We wanted our agency Y&R them to come back with something that was brave and that made us a bit nervous. When they came back with the concept of a rap, we thought this is quite brave but it’s great and the people we have shown it to here [at TUI] love it and we have done some research with consumers and they love it too so we think it’s going to work really well.”

Judge for yourself with the video above.

READ MORE: First Choice looks for brand awareness boost with ‘brave’ new campaign

Cancer Research UK merges emotional and practical messaging to drive donations

In the past Cancer Research UK’s campaigns have been centered around emotional stories of people going through treatment. However, the charity now wants to include a clearer call to action by focusing on the importance of the public funding research.

This week, the charity launched the ‘Right Now’ campaign, created by Anomaly and The Garden Productions, which shows how research is making progress in the fight against cancer as well as enabling the development of new and better treatments that are helping more people survive cancer than before.

The TV adverts, which air from 5 January, use a ‘then and now’ format to highlight the positive impact research is having on peoples’ lives today.

“By putting research at the heart of the story, you get a sense of the difference that CRUK can make, and we also want to show people what their two pounds can help achieve. We want three in four people with cancer to survive by 2034,” said Jo Cooke, director of brand, marketing and innovation at CRUK tells Marketing Week.

“There’s a clearer thread to it and the understanding that if you donate you are part of this very big fight against cancer. It’s that duality of the emotional and the practical – ‘if you take action right now, you can make a difference’. There is more of a connection between the two.”

READ MORE: Cancer Research UK merges emotional and practical messaging to drive donations

Consumer confidence approaches two years of decline

If you were expecting consumer confidence to improve as a result of Brits trading up for the Christmas period then this week’s numbers from GfK will make for depressing reading.

For the first 20 days of December, GfK’s major purchase index, which ranks Brits’ propensity to spend money on big ticket items such as electricals, fell one point to a score of -4. This means it’s nearly six times as bad as it was in December 2016 when this score stood at +12.

The overall consumer confidence index fell one point to -13 – six points lower than the same period a year ago. This means consumer confidence has been in decline for nearly two years.

It’s expected that there will be reduced spending this Christmas, with Brits looking for a bargain due to a rise in inflation and flat wages. “Consumers are under the most financial strain in five years. This pain is reflected in the downwards trajectory across all our consumer confidence measures,” explains Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK.

“Consumers are facing some major economic headwinds given that wages are growing more slowly than prices are rising. We are all tightening our belts even as the savings ratio continues to drop and borrowing rises. And with a 16-point drop in the Major Purchase Index for the past 12 months, the big question about spending is even louder this month.”

READ MORE: A decline in December caps two years of falling consumer confidence

The House of Lords debates why the ad industry is struggling to create apprenticeships

A hearing of the House of Lords communications committee this week laid bare the fact that government attempts to boost take-ups of apprenticeships aren’t taking root in the creative industries, due to “specific problems” that impact the sector.

Department of Education (DfE) skills minister Anne Milton pointed out that the apprenticeship levy – in force since April 2017 for companies paying over £3m per year in wages – creates a “ring-fenced account” through which industries have funds to train for the skills they require. Industries therefore “can’t sit back and say we’ve got a skills shortage, they’ve got to do something about it.”

She added: “There’s a whole range of businesses that can use this levy to employ people in the marketing they want to do.

“In advertising, supermarket chains, for example, can use the levy to employ people in marketing and communications but they have to do it. The opportunity is in front of them.”

This is a wake-up call for marketers and we hope that in 2018 more brands make an effort to encourage apprenticeship schemes.

READ MORE: Why the ad industry is struggling with apprenticeships

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