NEWS: Airtours changes tack to build brand

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.

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

and enjoyment.’



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

travel companies.’



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

Howard-Spink.



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.



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