Embattled Thomas Cook calls ad review

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Thomas Cook: December 2012 ad campaign
Thomas Cook: December 2012 ad campaign

Thomas Cook, the crisis-hit tour operator, is reviewing its ad account as it struggles to settle on a marketing strategy to revive its fortunes.

The brand has called an end to its relationship with Havas London Worldwide, which was appointed to its account last year by previous marketing director Michael Johnson.

In March 2012, Thomas Cook launched what was billed as its "fightback" campaign under the strapline, "It’s a wonderful world, explore it with us", as it sought to re-establish its UK market leadership.

However, following the arrival of Mike Hoban as sales, marketing and ecommerce director in September, it was reported by Campaign’s sister title Marketing that Thomas Cook’s vital New Year advertising plans had been scrapped.

A replacement campaign, featuring a man vandalising a Thomas Cook coach so he can stay on holiday longer, was repurposed from an ad originally created for the German market.

Prior to hiring Havas London Worldwide, the brand’s ad account was held by Beta, which created a campaign starring celebrities Jamie and Louise Redknapp.

Thomas Cook, which currently handles much of its digital activity in-house, has also approached agencies ahead of a pitch for its digital business.

The group is heavily in debt, but has embarked on a turnaround plan led by the chief executive, Harriet Green, and pre-tax losses declined in the final three months of 2012 to £127.9m, down from £151.7m in 2011.

Earlier this month, Thomas Cook announced £50m of additional cost cutting and disposals of non-core businesses as part of its turnaround plan. As part of the three-year transformation programme, it will also close 195 of its 1,069 UK high-street stores and axe a number of administrative and managerial roles.

Thomas Cook was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

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