Debrief: Thomas Cook: Forced humour

07 Feb,2012

By Anil Thakraney


‘Travel Smooth’ is Thomas Cook’s latest punch line. And the promise in their new campaign is that they will ensure we don’t face embarrassing situations when we travel abroad. That Thomas Cook is an expert travel agent and we can feel safe when we do business with them.


I watched three ads; each caters to a specific traveller’s need. One involves a conservative desi family booked into a very shady hotel, courtesy an unreliable agent. Likewise, other ads deal with problems on foreign currency and sight-seeing. It’s a negative campaign, an attempt to get a positive spin-off by rubbishing the competition.


I like the strategy. Rather than use the tried and tested route of boasting about Thomas Cook’s great work, better to make fun of the rivals. This ensures refreshing advertising, so that’s fine. However, in the execution of that intent, the advertiser loses the way.


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The commercials try hard to be funny; they are executed quite shoddily and end up becoming a bit irritating. While the hotel one is marginally better, the currency and the bus tour ads leave you totally cold.


Maybe the writers of this campaign haven’t travelled much. I can put out a laundry list of hilarious events that unfold because of poor planning. Enjoy an international holiday, guys. And then come back and write the storyboards.


Rating: (On a scale of 1 to 5): 2. Good strategy not backed by creative.


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2 responses to “Debrief: Thomas Cook: Forced humour”

  1. Shreya Tawde says:

    I don’t think so boasting about your own products/services is the way to go today because everyone is doing that. There is a need to break the cycle. The basic idea of the campaign I think is to create the need to travel smooth. Some other good campaigns like Hippo have tried this to send a message to people don’t stay hungry. I think that’s the way to go now to make the audience feel the need to opt for their product and service not boast why great they are.

  2. Ajinkya Bhide says:

    I think most of the ads in the India are forced humor, but not these 3 ads.. I would call it a bit exaggerated but not forced.. This is such a getaway from the regular clutter of ads where they always show a guy trying to impress a girl with his toothpaste, mint and all sorts of things.. I think the creative has also done a good job on this, I would rate this campaign as a 4 out of 5