Wake Up At the Crack of Yawn.
Thomas Cook has announced that it is going to off load Club 18-30 and focus on cooler brands. Cooler? What could have been cooler than 18-30 if they had dealt with this brand of heritage and memories better? This brand is not just a brand, it is a bloody icon. It’s way beyond cool. Move with the bloody times TC, you need a finger blast. 18-30 could have been adapted to fit with your changing portfolio and your corporate journey even if you are trying to appeal to a ‘different class’.
18-30 had some of the best advertising with ‘Wake up at the crack of Dawn’, my particular favourite – but it was slowly taken over by a much safer practice. And people not wanting to take too much risk (the corporates shall we say). I see it as similar to the fact that we now have to put up with Michael McIntyre on our TVs rather than Frankie Boyle – we just don’t have people who take risks much any more.
The model changed I agree, and the edge generally dropped off life, but 18-30 year olds still exist. And the people who remember Club 18-30 now have 18-30 year olds. It’s not that the world changed around them, it’s the fact that the brand was allowed to die. Why did they not adapt this icon? Think of rap music and the journey it has taken up to now – still massive, but massively less aggressive.
18-30 year olds still want to travel in groups. In fact they do it more. And social media allows them to meet up before they even bloody go. So why didn’t Club 18-30 adapt into this world? And more so adapt into the world of the parents who could now be using it for their kids.
Short term vision and risk adversity, I say. Remember Argos and how it was dying because of Amazon? Surely it was the original Amazon – you had to look through a catalogue, choose what you wanted, fill in a slip and someone you never got to even speak to would find your item and shove it through the collection window. Argos just didn’t adapt in time. It could have been Britain’s Amazon.
People are saying that social media and reality TV killed what 18-30 was – well maybe it unleashed a few secrets, but as often happens in travel, no one knew what to do with the disruptive child and ignored it for a while. They most likely followed the price-reducing seat filling short-term vision, shoved the budget at SEO and left the brand to die.
Where did the brand value sit in the books? Who spoke about the brand in the boardroom? Who sat and listened when the creative and marketing folk spoke up about brand protection? My guess is nobody. Or my guess is that nobody high up listened. My guess is everyone shouted about price and filling seats – and now everyone is mourning the death of the brand. A superbrand.
Are you surprised? It was left on the shelf and now it’s out of date. It died because nobody gave it the life it deserved. There should be a charity set up for lonely brands left alone to die. What a sad end to a superstar, we can all name others right now, I’m sure.
Club 18-30. I want that brand. Cruise ships take those 18-30s on cruises, and themed bloody cruises at that for god’s sake. Trek America take kids around The States. The list goes on. We have a new client called Rib Club who will give the old 18-30 generation a RIB for the day and take them to – guess what – Nikki Beach. A modern day bloody 18-30!
So I say that this is not a failing because of social media and change of attitude in youth. It’s a failing of management and a failing of the owners. It’s a bloody crime.
Bring more creative minds to the board, travel folk. Stop staring at the excel spreadsheets. Stop pouring over the numbers and a business model based on 5 year plans and bottom line and when to sell. Stop saying it didn’t work because something new came along. Look up. Look beyond. Breathe life in to what you have. Look around the office and see if you can see anything else slowly dying in a dusty folio. The long-term view is better. In the long run.