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By Hannah Bowler | Journalist

June 10, 2022 | 3 min read

Thomas Cook is finally back on TV, three years after a collapse, a buyout, a global pandemic and mass travel crisis. Its glossy, above-the-line relaunch campaign is set to drop this week after it was delayed for six months.

Shot last year in Tenerife, the 30-second ad revives the original strapline ‘Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it’ to hammer home that the brand is back and taking summer bookings.

It might seem like an odd time to run a costly campaign when the travel industry is in the grips of mass disruption, but Thomas Cook is steadfast that the industry will be ready for summer.

Over the May school holidays, staff shortages affecting the airline industry saw it buckle under pressure, leading to thousands of flights being canceled across Europe.

The travel sector has been rocked by headlines of stranded travelers and shocking airport queues. EasyJet and WhizzAir have been the worst affected airlines and had the biggest PR hit, with WhizzAir also now facing backlash after its chief exec called on pilots and crew to work through fatigue to avoid canceling flights.

As a booking platform, however, Thomas Cook faces a different challenge as it has to act as a middleman between the traveler and the airline. And despite uncertainty among travelers as to whether their summer plans will go ahead, Thomas Cook is plowing ahead with the marketing push.

The company has said the current crisis is a customer service challenge rather than a marketing one, giving it the confidence to continue its above-the-line plans.

For the new owners of Thomas Cook, it is now or never to ensure the brand is on people’s radars, the thinking being that it is essential to relaunch on TV to tell the public it is back and to regain trust after the original travel company collapsed in September 2019.

Its chief marketing officer, Ryan Cotton, tells The Drum that “people will be surprised to see a Thomas Cook advert because a lot of people still don’t know we’ve come back“. He says: “But when they see it, they’ll think ’if you are on TV, you must be real and you must be operating’.”

The Drum previously revealed that the ad was prepped to air in January, but the CMO made the tough decision to halt the campaign and wait till the business could cope with an increase in sales.

The new work weaves snippets of vacationers on a summer holiday and is backed by an original track fitted to the beat of ‘Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it’.

“As part of the advert development, we tested various lines and ‘Don’t just book it’ had broad appeal – even for those who might not remember it from the 90s heyday,” CMO Cotton tells us. “For those who were brought up hearing the line, it will hopefully put a smile on their face as they remember the fun of their childhood holidays and how Thomas Cook has been a much-loved brand for so many generations.”

McCann Birmingham, the agency behind the campaign, will be pleased to see the ads run after filming wrapped in November. Dentsu-owned iProspect booked the media, which will run for a month from June 13 across TV, radio, online video and display.

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