Thomas Cook ready to PUNCH out in 2010
Thomas Cook has named Punch Canada its agency of record, ending its seven-year relationship with Brainstorm Group.
The company began an agency review last autumn when it altered its vendor policy, making it necessary to regularly review third-party relationships. Brainstorm was invited to defend the account along with Punch and three other unnamed agencies.
Paul Larcher, senior director of marketing for the travel brand, said he was "perfectly happy" with Brainstorm, but ultimately opted for Punch.
"We were immediately drawn to the energy and creative thinking that Punch demonstrated in the selection process," Larcher said. "The agency has strong travel credentials and they made the connection between creative ideas and strategic thinking that we were looking for."
Punch has done work for Emirates airlines and managed the "It’s Better In the Bahamas" campaign.
During the review process, Punch was assigned a separate project organizing a media event for Thomas Cook’s newly launched travel insurance services.
"We kept it separate from the RFP," Larcher said. "Perhaps in going through that process, it did give us a little insight into their agency and more confidence in selecting them."
Larcher initially invited Punch to the review because of an existing business relationship with Erin McNeill, the agency’s vice-president, group accounts.
"I left [Thomas Cook] in 2000 for six years, and while I was away I worked [at Echo Advertising] with Erin," Larcher said. "I had heard she was at Punch, and knew they did work in our category, so I contacted them."
Thomas Cook has a 14-member internal marketing team that handles most of the creative, media buying and public relations work across its multiple brands. (The company’s consumer-facing brands include Sunquest and ALBATours, while its business-to-business ventures include Fun Sun Vacations, Encore CruiseEscapes and The Wholesale Travel Group, among others.)
Punch will "augment" the internal team’s work, handling overflow as well as consulting on long-term strategy and advertising plans and serving as an events and public relations team.
Punch is currently working on two assignments for 2010.