Insights / public-relations

Thomas Cook UK: Missed Public Relations Opportunity

Social media and PR go hand-in-hand these days. At Mason, Inc. we believe in an integrated brand approach when it comes to advertising, public relations and social media. Some companies may not see their golden PR opportunities when they are presented through social media, while others will.


A young man named Thomas Cook from England wrote a FB post to a British travel company with the same name. His post said:  “Hi Thomas Cook. Seeing as I share the exact same name as your huge company, and because of this I have been ridiculed since I can remember. I think it’s only fair that you help compensate for this by giving me one of your lovely holidays. A weekend to Paris would do just fine. Thank you.”

To this Thomas Cook UK answered that although it’s great to hear from him they cannot give out free vacations. To Mr. Cook’s surprise he received a Facebook message from a competitor company a few days later. A representative wrote:

“Dear Thomas Cook, here, how are you today? We’ve seen that you have recently made a request to the travel company Thomas Cook UK to be compensated for the years of ridicule that you have suffered from sharing their name. Here at we completely sympathize with your suffering and if your name was “˜’ we would certainly accept your request to be sent away on a weekend to Paris. So in Thomas Cook’s time of crisis we thought it was about time we stepped in to offer a helping hand to customers like yourself who have found themselves, as we like to say “˜Thomas Crooked’. So how about we send you on that weekend to Paris, in fact- why not make it a week for you and a friend! What do you say?
Kind Regards,
The Marketing team at”

After seeing Thomas Cook UK miss a great public relations opportunity, the competitor company took matters into their own hands and used the mistake to their advantage. The story became viral after Mr. Cook placed a screenshot of the messages and a photo of himself and a friend in Paris on the popular social news website Reddit. The post received over 56,000 up-votes (similar to Facebook Likes). benefited as well. Their Facebook Fan page started getting thousands of new likes and fans were leaving great comments about how they have been crooked and will now be using for their next vacation. One fan wrote, “Saw your free gift to Thomas Cook, going to check you guys out for my next trip”¦well played, well played!”

For the cost of two free trips to Paris was able to gain a huge social media following as well as many new customers. How do you think Thomas Cook UK is feeling right now?