TBWA loses £7m Thomas Cook ads

Thomas Cook has parted company with TBWA/London after ten years. The company says it wants to focus more on “direct-response initiatives”.

Thomas Cook spent £6.6m on advertising with TBWA last year, and insiders claim the business accounted for as much as £1m a year in fees for the agency.

A spokeswoman for Thomas Cook says the company will now work with a range of agencies and adds that “we will seek input from TBWA” on projects but “will no longer continue with any agency on a retained basis”.

Thomas Cook’s marketing is overseen by managing director of product Nigel David, who joined the company in February last year. He is a former managing director of Lunn Poly, the retail arm of rival holiday company TUI.

David joined Thomas Cook following the departure of UK chief executive Alan Stewart. At the same time, responsibility for the group’s strategic and marketing direction was moved to Thomas Cook’s headquarters in Germany.

At Christmas, TBWA developed a television, radio and press advertising campaign for Thomas Cook with the strapline “The world on sale”, accompanied by a voiceover from television personality Nicholas Parsons. Recently, the agency developed a campaign for Thomas Cook’s foreign exchange service, positioning holiday spending money as “fun money”.

TBWA managing director Jonathan Mildenhall says that the agency has produced some “fantastic advertising” for Thomas Cook in the past decade and that he hopes the relationship will continue in some form.

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