Mother and daughter repair family bonds in latest TUI spot

TUI is looking to dial up the "emotional storytelling" in its advertising with its second major campaign since rebranding from Thomson last year.

The new spot, which rolls out on Saturday (13 October) during The X Factor, is the follow-up to last year’s all-singing, all-dancing ad intended to launch TUI in the UK, along with its brand concept to "cross the T's, dot the I's and put U in the middle".

"Mum", created by Y&R London – prior to its merger with VML – shows a mother and sulky teenage daughter arriving at a TUI resort. Set to the upbeat soundtrack of The Strokes’ Someday, the ad again features choreographed dancing, albeit in a more intimate fashion, focusing on the improving relationship between parent and child.

The film – shot at TUI’s Sensatori Fethiye resort in Dalman, Turkey – was created by Phil Clandillon and Gavin McGrath, and directed by Simon Cahn through production company Pulse.

Alongside  60-, 40- and 30-second TV executions, abridged six-second edits of the ad will run on VOD, YouTube and social media platforms. The campaign will also include OOH, print and radio media.

As Christmas approaches, TUI will release further 20-second "bespoke" edits for "tactical targeting" later in the campaign, albeit with the same creative treatment and music.

Media planning and buying was handled by MediaCom.

Emotional benefits

In her first interview with Campaign since taking over the reins from long-serving marketing chief Jeremy Ellis, UK and Ireland chief marketing officer Katie McAlister said that, while the tour operator was still looking to grow brand awareness and consideration, the focus had now switched to conveying the "emotional benefits" of a TUI holiday.

"There are still cues to our colleagues in the film, and it is still very clearly branded ‘TUI presents...’, but it’s more low-key and more about the individual connection that you and your loved ones get on a TUI holiday," she said.

Rather than show the usual picture-perfect family, McAlister said the brand deliberately opted for an "ambiguous" family situation featuring only mother and daughter, to create a "very pure story" about the connection between two people.

McAlister, who previously held the role of digital director, has been at the company for nearly two decades. Outlining her key ambitions, she said she was aiming for TUI to become the "best-loved holiday brand" in the country, and planned to achieve this through a more "media-neutral approach".

"We need a media plan that is agile, so we can get the right messages to the right customers through the right channels," she added.

And despite recent dramatic changes at WPP – including the departure of chief creative officer Jon Burley, who oversaw the development of this campaign – McAlister insisted she was optimistic about the combination of Y&R with VML, and was happy to continue the relationship with the newly merged agency.

"For those guys, it is difficult to go through a merger internally. But from our point of view we just gained a whole new set of capabilities into our agency, so from our side it’s a really positive thing and we look forward to strengthening our relationship," she said.

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