Synergy to refocus Club Med's public image

Holiday group Club Med has hired Synergy to handle its UK PR as it seeks to change from an above-the-line to a below-the-line strategy, and raise its profile as a family resort provider, following an eight-way pitch.

The eight agencies - a blend of travel specialists and consumer shops - were narrowed down to three after an initial first stage.

Club Med marketing manager Sarah Mason refused to disclose the names of participating agencies but said the account would be worth over £100,000 a year.

She said the Synergy appointment had been made as part of the change of strategy in line with an expanded PR budget, and that previously the group had relied on its in-house team for PR.

According to Mason the group believes that - owing to the name - Club Med is associated primarily with 18-30s holidays around the Mediterranean.

It now wants to place more emphasis on its range of packages - from winter sun to ski-ing, to long haul holidays and Club Med's family destinations.

The group comms team's feeling that the brand was 'surrounded by misconceptions' was confirmed by market research carried out in recent months, she claimed.

Mason ruled out any major rebranding - insisting the brand was 'huge' worldwide and that it was only in the UK that these problems existed.

Synergy senior consultant Kate Selley, who will work alongside account manager Margaret Melia, pointed to 'education, reinforcement of messages and press trips' as key elements of the agency's strategy.

French travel group Club Mediterranee, known for brand purposes as Club Med, had group revenues last year of over £1.3bn - a 5.1 per cent increase on the previous year's revenues.

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