Thomas Cook shelves planned New Year campaign

Struggling tour operator Thomas Cook is facing a marketing crisis in the lead-up to the travel industry's busiest booking period.

Thomas Cook: shelved New Year marketing plans
Thomas Cook: shelved New Year marketing plans

Marketing has learned that the brand's post-Christmas ad plans have been ditched, without a replacement lined up.

According to sources close to Thomas Cook, the ongoing shake-up in the business' senior management and UK arm's marketing team has hit the operatorÕs biggest marketing push of the year.

Thomas Cook was expected to roll out the next iteration of its brand campaign using the strapline 'It's a wonderful world, explore it with us', which broke in March.

However, it is understood that those plans were abandoned following the arrival of former marketing director Mike Hoban in September as director of marketing, brands and customer insight.

Following the appointment of Peter Fankhauser as its UK chief executive last month, the travel firm may now 're-purpose' a TV ad created for the German market to ensure that it does not miss out on crucial bookings in the weeks after Christmas.

Thomas Cook has had a tumultuous year, with a series of management changes stemming from the sudden exit of former chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa in August 2011. The business secured a £1.4bn refinancing deal in May, and was expected to post its second consecutive annual loss this week.

It is also widely predicted that new group chief executive Harriet Green will announce a series of management cuts over the coming months, in an attempt to revive the business.

A spokesman for Thomas Cook said: 'We're excited about our plans for the important peak booking period, [but] naturally the detail is commercially sensitive. We are considering all options open to us - as you would expect when a new marketing director joins - but Thomas Cook will be on air.'

Arch-rival TUI is expected to launch multimillion-pound campaigns next month for its Thomson and First Choice brands. In September, Thomson rolled out a £5.5m campaign promoting its new Dreamliner aircraft.

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