Tui Travel is to launch its biggest ever turn-of-year advertising campaign for Thomson and First Choice, with TV ads set to air pre and post-Christmas.
The First Choice ad goes live on December 23 while the Thomson ads start on December 27 in a deliberate bid to differentiate the brands.
At two minutes, the Thomson ad is its longest ever and is, in effect, a mini film using special effects seen in Hollywood blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean.
The ad first airs during Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith on ITV2, Home Alone on E4 and Simpsons on Sky 1, and during ITV soap Coronation Street on December 30. The ads are produced by advertising agency Beattie McGuinness Bungay. Following the main ad, shorter 20 second ads featuring specific types of Thomson holidays will be screened.
The ad tells the story of Simon, a man so ground down by the stresses of everyday life he has turned into an ogre. During a Thomson holiday, he undergoes a transformation.
The strapline, ‘It’s amazing what a Thomson holiday can do’, will appear on posters in Thomson shops. A social media campaign, including an in-store competition for customers, will run from mid-January.
Thomson is running a teaser campaign for the first time on Meagain.co.uk. This will show Simon’s office and give an insight into why the character in the ad is so stressed. It will include a quiz for consumers to fill in about their own stress levels and whether they need to book a holiday. When the ad goes live, the site will switch to show Simon’s Sensatori hotel room.
Marketing director Jeremy Ellis said: “This is the biggest campaign we’ve ever done, including spend, and the bravest in terms of content.
“We have identified that one of the reasons people want to get away is that life at home, working or studying can be tough. We want to show we understand that ‘life truth’.”
Ellis said the aim of the ad was to continue to modernise the perception of the package holiday.
“We want Thomson to stand for two different things.Firstly, that we understand the importance of quality time on holiday and the emotional feeling that we want people to have when they see Thomson. Secondly, we want to explain that you can have quality time with Thomson and more so than anybody else, and the reason is our differentiated product.”
The First Choice ad shows a family having "unlimited" fun on an all inclusive holiday and will feature Flo Rida’s number one hit of last summer Good Feeling. It will feature the strapline “All you can ...is all we do. First Choice, the home of all inclusive” and show activities such as a Holiday Village zipwire and a water flume at a SplashWorld property.
The 60-second ad goes live during the film Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince on the evening of December 22 and at the same time will feature on Firstchoice.com/blog.
Discounts of up to £300 per couple and free child places will lead Thomson and First Choice Christmas and new year booking deals for 2014 holidays.
The early booking promotion goes live tomorrow (Friday) online, by phone and in 694 in-house travel agencies.
Other benefits include low deposits starting at £150 and one-off ‘super saver’ deals including £760 off per couple for a First Choice holiday to Mauritius and £670 off a Thomson holiday to Florida
Commercial director Andrew Flintham said: “We’re dedicated to offering customers a holiday that suits their tastes, as well as their budgets.
“That’s why over the past year we have increased our offering to include some great new destinations such as Mauritius and Puerto Vallarta flying on the Thomson Dreamliner, more exclusive products, new concept hotels and increased capacity in popular short haul destinations such as Greece.
“We have some great deals available for the new year and with thousands of free kids places we anticipate that customers will book early to take advantage of these fantastic offers.”
A social media campaign will include a competition to guess what’s hidden on First Choice’s Facebook wall to win a selection of prizes.