Thomas Cook to launch direct-sell cruise brand

LONDON – Thomas Cook is to launch its first direct-sell cruise brand, cruisesdirect2u, to increase its market share of the UK's £885m cruise industry.

The travel company has appointed Sheffield-based agency Dig for Fire after an undisclosed four-way pitch. The agency already works on Thomas Cook's direct-sell brand Blue Sky Holidays Direct, which it won last July.

The agency has been briefed to create the cruisesdirect2u logo and brand identity, design a company magazine and build a website to promote 2004-2005 holidays. The launch will also be supported by a direct mail campaign.

Darren Stott, head of sales at cruisesdirect2u, said: "We have embarked significant marketing spend to help us increase our share in the rapidly expanding cruise market -- right now there is a great opportunity for us to extend our success in cruise sales on the high street to a direct channel."

Charles Glover, managing director at Dig for Fire, said: "The greatest barrier in people's minds used to be the belief that cruises were expensive -- this is now changing and our work will highlight the cost benefits of using a direct-sell brand."

Dig For Fire is one of the largest independent agencies outside of London, with billings of more than £33m. Its clients include First Direct, HSBC, Tesco and Toyota.

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