Thomas Cook’s £10m campaign guns for families and independent travellers

Thomas Cook is doubling investment in its New Year marketing strategy and intends to drive business from both its package holidays and also holidaymakers who prefer to package up their own trips via its hotels4u brand.

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Thomas Cook is promoting many of its new propositions in its latest ad campaigns.

The holiday company, which has been pursuing a turnaround strategy focused on “high tech, high touch” since the appointment of Harriet Green as CEO, is investing £10m in the crucial holiday booking period.

The television ads for mainstream holidays break on Boxing Day and will continue to feature actor James Nesbitt. There will be three new iterations promoting different features of Thomas Cook’s holiday propositions.

One ad will focus on the Sentido hotel offer and the live chat facility that allows customers to talk directly to Thomas Cook consultants; one will promote the Smartline service and the tour operator’s inclusion of independent holiday reviews on its sites and one will highlight the exclusivity of its hotel properties including Sunwing.

The new ads will be the first to incorporate Thomas Cook’s “sunny heart” branding, introduced earlier this year. The ads will heavily promote online booking with the strapline “Let’s Go! “To Thomascook.com”. The company aims to move 50 per cent of its bookings online by 2015.

Elements of the campaign will be extended across CRM, direct marketing and online and incorporated into the high street retail stores.

There will be a promotional element to the New Year campaign with the message of up to £300 off early summer bookings.

Sales, marketing and ecommerce director Mike Hoban says: “We are absolutely determined that we are going to win the battle for customers in this important trading period.”

Explaining the choice of James Nesbitt as continuing brand ambassador Hoban says: “The great thing about him is that he has mass appeal to broad audiences. Everyone can relate to him.”

The campaign has been created by Publicis with media handled by Carat.

Hoban explains that the Hotels4U business was unearthed as a brand with potential by Thomas Cook’s strategy review earlier this year. He says that it is a proposition that can be built on and compete with online travel agent offerings.

The brand recently had its identity and website refreshed and its TV campaign breaks on 1 January, featuring fictional characters called Danny and Poppy. The ads have the strapline “Anything for you, cupcake”.

The company recently divested several niche brands including the ski brand Nielson.

Rival tour operator TUI has just revealed its ad campaign for the Thomson brand based on the concept of a dad called “Simon The Ogre”.

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