Thomas Cook’s Sunny Heart breaks for employees

Today we’re waking up to the news that iconic travel company Thomas Cook has gone into administration, leaving 22,000 employees, including 9000 in the UK, without a job.

The 178-year-old tour operator has “ceased trading with immediate effect” according to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). News reports state there are 150,000 Brits abroad who are being repatriated.

Employees are taking to Twitter to express their pride in the brand, sadness at the end of the company they know and love and concern for customers and their own financial futures.

It’s remarkable to see their commitment and concern and I hope there’s a bright future ahead for all those impacted by today’s announcement.

At times like these, you want to reassure and settle employees, but that will be impossible for the Comms team at Thomas Cook as there are so many answered questions and your hands are tied due to ceasing trading.

I messaged Thomas Cook’s Internal Comms team this morning and my offer of help stands, just let me know how I and the Comms community can support you.

I’ve featured Thomas Cook a number of times on my blog over the years, including its rebrand to the Sunny Heart logo in 2013.


Back in 2013 I wrote the following on my blog from their media statement about their rebrand: The Sunny Heart is a very clear, visible signal that we are back, that we are different and that we are shaping our future, building on the power of our heritage and creating the company we want to be. It conveys a timeless message of warmth, commitment and the sunny emotions and happy memories that holidays bring.

We have also introduced a new brand essence, which aims to clearly communicate our values of Trust, Innovation and Personalisation: Inspiring Personal Journeys By the Trusted Pioneer in Global Travel.

Complementing the Sunny Heart, ‘Let’s Go’ simplifies the new brand essence in just two, memorable words, representing the excitement, energy and values of Thomas Cook in 2013.

This brand unification is a vehicle for our transformation, linking our visual identity directly to our core strategic values. The revitalised look and feel of Thomas Cook defines us – a statement that means something across all cultures, countries and languages.

A spokesman from the company said: “The essence of the new brand captures who Thomas Cook is, and what it promises – a high tech, high touch experience across all customer touch points with an omni-channel approach.”


Today Twitter is filled with employees expressing their love for the brand and pride at working for the organisation.

The Comms community and customers have been expressing their sadness too:

Best of luck to everyone impacted by this news, it’s hard to imagine the skies without the Thomas Cook brand. Let’s hope there’s a chance of healing that broken heart soon and finding new employment for their workers.


Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 23 September 2019.


  1. Frank says:

    Thank you, Rachel. A really thoughtful piece and nice for you to highlight the employees and their strong pride and connection to the brand. The saddest thing for me I think is the failure of its senior decision-making leaders who didn’t live up to the promise and essence of Thomas Cook’s values and its brand. It’s an important reminder that we must all continuously adapt to change to remain relevant. Unfortunately, in this case, their strategic choices failed. From large amounts of debt to nearly getting bought out to save the business, to failing to deliver on that buy-out and not getting ‘rescued’ by the government. Healthy businesses should not be getting into that toxic, desperate pattern. What can employees do more of to increase their knowledge, voice and potentially challenge constructively and question to understand the financial health of their business?

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