Marketers at Thomas Cook’s latest holiday venture, JMC, admit they
admire the First Directs of this world, and JMC’s advertising and direct
marketing burst over the past three weeks is certainly reminiscent of
the launch of the telephone bank.
Like First Direct, the JMC team has focused not only on building
awareness of the brand name, but also on differentiating JMC from
existing holiday companies. It has highlighted the fact that it has
tried, albeit in relatively simple ways, to improve on the services
offered by its rivals. Core themes for the television, poster, press and
direct mail campaigns were: ’unwrapping the package holiday piece by
piece’; ’holidays are about to change’ and ’tell us how we can make your
Total adspend is expected to reach pounds 14 million within the first
Around pounds 6 million was spent on the launch, so sales people at the
top TV stations are battling over the pounds 8 million expected to be
spent during December - peak holiday booking time.
Created by TBWA GGT Simons Palmer and bought by Booth Lockett Makin, the
campaign launched on 1 September on TV, posters, press and direct
The first TV spot lasted 59 seconds and went out on Channel 4. An
abbreviated version of the same creative aired on 6 September on
Central, and a new 30-second creative followed it in the same area on 12
September. Two poster executions went up on 10 September, one using the
line ’pre-book seats on our flights at no extra cost’ and the other
using the core ’unwrapping the package holiday’ theme.
The press strategy was to go for a one-hit big splash. The ads,
comprising a single creative, were placed in The Mail on Sunday, News of
the World, The Observer, Sunday People, Sunday Express, Sunday Mirror,
The Sunday Telegraph and The Sunday Times.
All were full-page ads and the total spend was pounds 330,217.
Interestingly, the response number quoted in the press ads has already
been terminated, with callers hearing only a short message to say that
the line is closed. Callers are not re-directed to the main response
The component companies brought together under the JMC umbrella -
Sunworld, Sunset, Inspiration, Flying Colours and Caledonian - were not
major users of direct marketing, but JMC has invested heavily in
databases and is expected to increase the share of marketing spend used
on direct mail.
The company has promised an annual survey to find out what people want
from their holidays, the aim being to increase customer loyalty. Its
first study showed that 80 per cent of package holidaymakers do not
return to the company they used the year before.
Changing that statistic may prove even more challenging than launching a
Research by Media Monitoring Services, tel: 01763 -245151