Channel 4

The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds on Holiday with Thomas Cook

We teamed up with the kids from our hit show 'The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds', whisking them away on holiday to create a special ad-funded version with Thomas Cook!

The Big Idea

Thomas Cook has existed as a travel agent for 177 years. However, with the rise of internet based travel companies, the travel market has been squeezed and Thomas Cook had to find a point of difference to stay relevant.

Families are important to the business; not least because they spend more than couples. Channel 4 had to find a strategy that spoke to parents on a deeper level about how their families would be cared for on holiday and how Thomas Cook were the perfect provider for this experience.

The Storylab and Channel 4’s big idea ‘The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds On Holiday With Thomas Cook’ was so perfect, it almost felt inevitable. Channel 4’s young stars and their families were ideal for Thomas Cook to entertain and charm whilst showing what we do best - quality family holidays. We are delighted with the outcome of our partnership with Channel 4." - Charles Reid, Group Business Director, Carat

Making it Happen

Alongside our partners from The Storylab, Channel 4 employed our creative approach,  PL4Y, to find a solution to the brief. 

In a first for Channel 4, we took our hit show ‘Secret Lifes Of’ (our award-winning series that lifts the lid on the ups, downs, tears and triumphs of the playground), and created an ad-funded version; The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds on Holiday.

We knew that Channel 4 and ‘Secret Lives’ would enable Thomas Cook to stand out against the competition as it would drive home to parents that they have great family facilities and motivate parents to use them for their next family holiday.

It sat as ‘original’ content on All4 and was distributed across Thomas Cook’s digital, social and owned platforms. 

6 mini episodes of the ‘Secret Life of 5 Year Olds on Holiday’, showing the families enjoying their holiday and interacting with Thomas Cook products, brand and ambassadors.

6 x 30” promotional trails for use on Channel 4 platforms, and edits for Thomas Cook owned and paid channels were created.

In an unprecedented move the 6 mini episodes for All4 were re-edited into a 30 minute show for linear broadcast on Channel 4. This carried product placement at scale and reached an audience of over 2m in Thomas Cook’s key trading period.

Digital platforms delivered additional reach and scale, with promos, display activity

The series even had its own on-air marketing and full promotional social strategy ensuring the ad-funded show seamlessly fitted into the schedule.  

69 million views so far on Channel 4
Thomas Cook consideration rose to 79% against a benchmark of 45%

The Results

69 million views so far on Channel 4 platforms alone TV, VOD, Social, digital

The series proved so successful that Thomas Cook have committed to further ad-funded work with ‘Secret Lives’

The show had amazing viewer engagement: Total Views (across 6 videos): 5.8 million with a further 8k reactions, comments and shares.

One scene from the series alone was viewed almost 5m times on Facebook

Thomas Cook moved into market leading brand position for awareness, from 5th to 1st!

Thomas Cook moved ahead of TUI and Jet 2 on brand perception

When asked if their opinion of Thomas Cook had improved as a result of the activity 70% said yes, against a benchmark of 50%

Thomas Cook consideration rose to 79% against a benchmark of 45%

Thomas Cook matched TUI on ‘first choice’ consideration amongst those exposed to the campaign, despite less than half the spend in the same period