The slogan “don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it” has been a familiar part of Britain’s travel industry since the seventies but it is now being consigned to the history books as part of a major re-branding exercise by the UK’s oldest tour operator.
Thomas Cook is also doing away with its well known globe symbol and replacing it with a “sunny heart” logo and the strapline: “Let’s go!”
The re-branding exercise is the latest effort by Thomas Cook chief executive, Harriet Green, to simplify the sprawling 172-year-old holiday giant, which came close to collapse in 2011.
CEO Harriet’s Green’s Tweet celebrating the new logo:
— Harriet Green (@harrietgreen1) October 1, 2013
The new look Thomas Cook stores:
— Thomas Cook UK Press (@TCPressOfficeUK) October 1, 2013
Thomas Cook currently has 30 brands in the UK but Ms Green has committed to reducing that number to less than 10.
The new sunny heart logo, which has been designed in-house, will appear on Thomas Cook’s websites, in its international stores, on its airline fleet and at its UK and overseas offices.
However, the new logo received a lukewarm reception from brand experts.
Stephen Bell, executive creative director of Coley Porter Bell, described the heart as “a bit cold and mechanical” and suggested it wouldn’t lead customers to re-appraise Thomas Cook.
“It’s a very corporate-looking marque,” Mr Bell said.
Brand expert Jonathan Gabay said the sunny heart logo had clearly been designed to work on any device and would help Thomas Cook avoid confusion between its numerous consumer-facing brands. But Mr Gabay also pointed out that the “Let’s go!” strapline was “remarkably similar” to easyJet’s “Come on Let’s Fly” motto.
Ms Green said the simplification of Thomas Cook’s portfolio of brands would help in “eliminating confusion and making it easier for customers to interact with us”.
Michael Healy, Thomas Cook’s finance director, said the new branding has been tested at the company’s business in northern Europe since November.
“We have proven that it has heightened brand awareness, driven more website traffic, increased early and repeat bookings and improved conversion rates,” Mr Healy said.
“This unification has been developed internally and we are rolling it out appropriately for this stage in our transformation journey.”
The re-branding was announced as analysts at Panmure Gordon named Thomas Cook as their “top pick” for the fourth quarter.
The group, which has been stripping costs in an effort to secure sustainable growth, is expected to announce a further increase to its cost-cutting target at its full-year results in November.
The broker believes Thomas Cook could resume dividend payments in 2015.
“Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it” first appeared in the 1970s and has been used on and off ever since. It was re-introduced in 2009 when the group rolled out a television advertising campaign featuring former England footballer Jamie Redknapp and his wife Louise.
The company would not put a figure on cost of the re-branding exercise.