Marketing is on hold for nearly 15 minutes, before getting through to customer services.
TC Hello, Thomas Cook Group, how can I help?
Mktg Hi, I've seen an ad about getting £170 off holidays.
TC For what time of year?
Mktg It says, 'guaranteed £170 off summer 2012 bookings'.
TC If it's for summer 2012, the online discount is £170 per booking, providing there is a minimum spend of £1200.
Mktg OK. I didn't realise. That's quite misleading.
TC It's in the small print.
Mktg I find it interesting that they are doing discounts in the first place. I saw this ad, then another that was a letter from Sam someone, saying how it has been a difficult week for Thomas Cook, but I'd seen another ad that looks like it was from the same people that said 'We're in really great shape'.
Mktg Thomas Cook is massive. One end of the business might be struggling, but another can turn it around quickly.
Mktg So the ad I saw last week that said 'we're in really great shape but others might not be' - did you put that out?
TC I haven't seen any ads. The info I'm getting is we have nothing to be concerned about.
TC The media has caused panic.
Mktg I see. Oh wait, I've just found the ad that was confusing me, and it says it's by TUI. Are you guys TUI as well?
TC No, TUI is Thomson Holidays. Nothing to do with us.
Mktg That's so confusing; you both use blue in your logo and ads. So TUI is saying that they are doing really well and Thomas Cook is saying that they are doing well, but after a week of not doing very well?
TC It's more complex than that, but as far as we are concerned, it's business as usual.
Mktg OK, thanks for the help.
TC Is there a holiday that you wanted to book?
Mktg No, I didn't realise the minimum spend was so high, I'll have to take another look.
The call-handler, while sounding professional, didn't know about the consumer-facing activity that Thomas Cook had put out, and used the same phrase the company has been using all week: 'Business as usual'. It is worrying that an employee of a company in the papers for the past week because of its poor financial situation had not been properly briefed.
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk