Airtours, the UK’s second-largest holiday company, is switching from
tactical advertising to brand building in a new campaign based on
testimonials from its customers.
The new tactic gets its first airing this week in three commercials
under the theme ‘Whatever makes your holiday, we make it happen’.
The campaign is the first to be produced by the Leeds-based agency,
Advertising Principles, since it won the creative assignment on the
pounds 7 million account this summer (Campaign, 21 June).
The move away from the tactical work, run by Manchester’s Sass Panayi
agency, is intended to differentiate Airtours from its competitors by
concentrating on product benefits rather than sun, sea and sand.
Keith Lishman, the Advertising Principles creative director, said:
‘Using genuine testimonials - with real, believable people describing
their holidays - communicates the strength of the Airtours brand.
‘Because of this technique, the commercials deliver a real sense of fun
The Airtours initiative - described as ‘a dramatic departure’ by Richard
Carrick, its marketing director -comes at a time of fierce competition
within the package tour industry.
Carrick added: ‘This is only the first stage in building our new brand
position and we believe our stance will lead the way in holiday
advertising as brand development becomes increasingly important for
The commercials, in 30- and ten-second formats, will run on Channel 4,
GMTV and a range of satellite channels. They were written by Andy
Tweddle and directed by Brian Smith of Percival Smith Associates. Media
buying is handled by the Media Centre.
National and regional press advertising, as well as a magazine campaign,
will support the TV burst.
Carrick, the former Granada leisure group senior marketer, called the
review shortly after joining Airtours earlier this year as part of his
plans to develop the company’s brand. He picked Advertising Principles
after a three-way pitch which included BDH in Manchester and Lowe
The appointment follows what has been a succession of agency
relationships, often soured, it is claimed, by Airtours’ reputation for
trying to screw down margins.