Travelcare, the Co-op-owned travel agency, is launching an ad campaign over Christmas to reposition its brand.
The ad, through Partners BDDH, uses the Thunderbirds in the travel agent's first national TV campaign. Travelcare, one of the few travel agent networks not owned by a major tour operator, wanted to produce a campaign following the rebranding of its 300 branches and its new positioning as an agent offering impartial advice.
The 30-second commercial, called 'pool', begins with an idyllic holiday scene as two women soak up the sun, splashing around in a pool. The voiceover explains that Travelcare's advice 'could prove very useful' as the pool suddenly slides away and the nose cone of Thunderbird 1 begins to emerge.
As the rocket blasts off, the girls run away screaming. The camera then pulls back to reveal that they have unwittingly visited Tracy Island. The voiceover says: 'Travelcare. We'll tell you what the brochure won't.'
The campaign, which breaks on Boxing Day, marks the first time Thunderbirds has been used in an ad combined with live action. It will be accompanied by a national 48-sheet and six-sheet outdoor campaign, radio and tubecards.
Jane Carty, the group marketing manager of Travelcare, said: 'We've been through a major rebranding in 2000. Our first national TV campaign marks a significant moment for us.'
Tom Henton, the account director at Partners BDDH, said: 'This campaign underlines the strength of the brand's positioning within a market where consumers struggle to differentiate between the main competitors.'
The ad was written and art directed by Gary Monaghan and David Fleetwood.
Howard Greenhalgh directed through Godman. Special effects are from The Mill, and Mill Film created the models. Media is through Media Options.