Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thomson brand is rubbish say experts

Well, kind of.

Enormous interest in our story yesterday about Thomson-First Choice not being particularly enthusiastic about the Superbrands programme.

Within an hour or so of our story going out, Stephen Cheliotis, chief executive of the Centre of Brand Analysis, which runs the judging process for the Superbrands 500 list, was on the phone.

Cheliotis was keen to point out - as a PR rep had done repeatedly earlier in the day - that there is absolutely no connection between those who pay to be "members" of the Superbrands programme and those who appear on the list.

Fair enough. We had that in our original story anyway.

So then we got onto talking about the judging process for this year's Superbrands 500.

As we noted previously in our , a list of around 1,350 brands is selected by the TCBA from numerous sources. The list is then put in front of an Expert Council of luminaries from media, marketing, ad agencies etc, which decides on a list of the best 750 brands.

The 750 are then put to a public vote of around 2,500 people, which decides the top 500.

So it turns out that Thomson was a lowly 964th in the 2008 expert list and didn't even make the public vote. The experts clearly think of Thomas Cook in a much better light.

First Choice was in 1,039th position.

This means that the all-conquering Thomas Cook was 892 places higher - in the final list - than Thomson. Crikey.

The whole thing gets even more bizarre when Cheliotis revealed that Thomson managed to get in the 2007 top 500 list in 161st.

Some might call this a rather tragic fall from grace (hilarious, Thomas Cook would probably say).

Others will be looking to the Expert Council for an explanation as to why a company which featured in a reasonably high position one year can not even be considered worthy of the top 750 the next.

Cheliotis told us the make-up of the council changes every year, which will account for differences of opinion, of course.

There is "invariably some volatility" in the list, Cheliotis adds. Indeed...

Anyway, we suspect Thomson-First Choice won't be too distraught at missing out this year, as their comments indicated yesterday, but will be keen to see where they feature in the pre-public vote next year.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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