Airtours looks unlikely to embark on its long-awaited pounds 10
million brand-building campaign following an announcement this week that
it had put its relationship with the incumbent agency, Lowe-Howard
Spink, on hold.
Lowes was appointed last November following a much-publicised pitch
against the Leeds-based Advertising Principles and Euro RSCG Wnek
However, despite being recruited to run what was described at the time
as a big brand-building campaign, the agency has not unveiled any
advertising for the client.
A company spokeswoman said: ’Airtours and Lowes have agreed to put their
relationship on hold following the successful completion of the first,
strategic phase of the development of a brand advertising campaign.’
Instead, Airtours said, the company would use the small Manchester-based
Connect Point to handle tactical advertising. Connect Point has worked
on the account since 1996, producing press and radio advertising for the
Lowes claimed it was still conducting strategic projects on behalf of
Airtours, and would pick up the relationship again in the future. This
was a sentiment echoed by the company: ’Airtours Holidays will continue
to advertise using Connect Point, with the intention of resuming their
relationship with Lowes in the longer term.’
The move has prompted speculation in the industry that Airtours’
expensive and unsuccessful attempt to buy the rival tour operator, First
Choice, was behind the apparent change of heart.
Airtours has had a turbulent advertising history. In the early 90s, it
appointed Bartle Bogle Hegarty, threatening its relationship with the
incumbent of many years, the Manchester-based Sass Panayi. However, just
before signing the deal, Airtours decided to retain Sass Panayi.