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Patrick Whyte

Playing the rename game

This time last year Monarch was on the brink. Throughout the summer the company was barely out of the business press, as speculation mounted over its financial woes.

 

It was saved by a last-minute rescue package, courtesy of Greybull Capital, and while the new deal caused some pain for the company – with job losses and salary cuts – it meant Monarch at least had a future.

 

Twelve months on and the group revealed this week that it is now set to go through another major change as it announced plans to ditch the Cosmos Holidays, Avro and Somewhere2Stay brands.

 

In many respects the move makes sense. The Cosmos trademark is held by previous owners the Mantegazza family, who will continue to use it with Cosmos Tours. Acquiring permission to use the brand therefore is likely to warrant a hefty fee.

 

The move has additionally removed any lasting confusion over the two Cosmos brands. Monarch itself will also benefit from uniform branding across its airline and tour operating divisions – something which another well-know travel giant – Tui – is keen to pursue, with a planned roll-out of its brand beginning in Holland last week.

 

The big difference though is that Tui is not a familiar name, whereas Monarch has been around for 50 years. There have of course been plenty of successful rebrands – the transition from BackRub to Google was an inspired decision by the tech giant.

 

But there have also been failures. In 2002 Thomas Cook was left red-faced after the rebranding of its package holidays under JMC – the initials of the son of the eponymous founder – was scaled back when it caused confusion among customers.

 

Chief executive Andrew Swaffield told me while the Cosmos name was synonymous with the package holiday boom of the 70s and 80, it is Monarch that is the more well-known brand for consumers today.

 

Only time will tell if the public – and trade – agree.

 

Patrick Whyte
Deputy news editor, TTG

@PatrickWhyteTTG

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