Sensimar and First Dates - a match made in heaven


Key Points                                                                  

  • Sensimar wanted to drive awareness of their new name and the quality of their product offering
  • They found the perfect programme partnership and combined it with some highly relevant short form content
  • As a result, brand awareness grew by 220% amongst holiday planners

The Challenge

In 2016, TUI renamed its Couples’ holiday range to Sensimar and increased the standard of product offering for the customer. Sensimar is a range of holidays created just for adults. They are about quality time for couples, with tables for two and special wellness treatments that can be enjoyed together.

The challenge was to make young, aspirational couples aware of the new name and understand the Sensimar product. Mediacom, Sensimar’s media agency, conducted some in-depth audience segmentation analysis, which concluded that the audience segment that indexed best for the Sensimar product was a group called ‘Quality Relaxing No Kids’. These are ABC1 couples in their late 20s with no kids in the household, who are generally well off and happy to pay more for quality goods and services. 

The Solution

The usual media mix for TUI products was a bit of print and some digital display with a limited budget. However, an awareness indices study done by Mediacom’s econometrics team showed that TV and TV sponsorship were the key media required when it comes to raising significant awareness of a new product.

Mediacom recommended a TV sponsorship route and started the search for the right programme – one that would not only resonate with the target audience but would align nicely with the Sensimar product which is centred on quality, relaxing beach holidays for couples. The solution was First Dates on Channel 4 – not only was it a great brand fit but it was also about to become one of the highest rated programmes on the channel. In addition, the broadcast dates coincided with the time of year when TUI get the majority of their bookings.

The Plan

The programme partnership consisted of sponsoring 24 x 60-minute episodes of First Dates in peak airtime on a Friday night. The idents were designed to showcase what the “First Date” can lead to. They featured TUI holiday resorts and activities that couples on their 10th or 75th date might get up to, all under the strapline of “It all started with a First Date”. In total, 14 different idents were produced.

To increase the association with the show, they also sponsored “First Dates Abroad” on E4. This was the broadcast of the First Dates series from Australia and Canada. It involved 20 episodes and meant that they could broaden the reach of the campaign and further drive the association with the show.

The next stage of the plan involved creating a mini-series called First Breaks. These programmes followed couples who were going on their first holiday together to Sensimar resorts in Crete and Corfu. It was felt that, after a first date, the next key stage in the life of a relationship was the first holiday away together. Four episodes were made, each one lasting three to four minutes and were targeted at viewers of the First Dates programme. The series was promoted in a 30 second spot that went out in First Dates and other relevant programming across the Channel 4 portfolio and also across pre-roll VOD and online display.  

They produced assets for TUI’s owned channels that were used in all 680 of TUI’s retail stores across the UK and made cut down edits for Facebook and Twitter. They secured licensing rights that allowed them to use the First Dates logo across consumer and trade PR and promote the campaign on social media channels. The partnership also meant showing First Dates on TUI’s in-flight entertainment system and there was an article in the in-flight magazine featuring Fred, the concierge from the programme. 


  • The sponsorship achieved around 1,200 adult ratings which equated to 1,451 ratings for the ‘Quality Relaxing No Kids’ audience with a  reach of 60%
  • Brand awareness of Sensimar grew from 5% to 16% for people likely to buy a holiday in the next six months (Source: MTM Research)
  • The partnership helped to define what the Sensimar proposition is with 69% correctly describing it as adult only, high quality couples holidays (Source: MTM Research)
  • Perceptions of the Sensimar brand have been significantly improved by the partnership:

-          Is a brand that offer holidays with peace and quiet, 93% (up 75%)

-          Is a modern brand, 91% (up 72%)

-          Is a good quality brand, 89% (up 75%)

(Source: MTM Research)

  • First Breaks had 19.9m views across all platforms
  • The partnership was so successful that they are continuing it for a second year
  • The campaign was shortlisted in ‘Best Use of Content’ at TV Planning Awards 2017

First Dates has given us the opportunity to extend the reach of our Sensimar product beyond standard Digital activity. A 12 month sponsorship also gave us continuity and consistency of the Thomson Sensimar product message which has been hugely beneficial. Extending this beyond spot sponsorship to 4OD shorts last year has been a great addition and it is something we’d like to continue going forward.

Charlotte Cheeseman Senior Marketing Manager


Sector: Travel

Brand: Sensimar              

Campaign objectives: To drive awareness of the name change and the quality of the product offering

Target Audience: Aspirational couples who want quality relaxing holidays with no kids

Budget: £1.5 to £2m

Campaign Dates: The sponsorship began on 15th January 2016 and ran on and off throughout 2016

TV Usage: Programme sponsorship + Advertiser funded shorts

Creative Agency: BMB

Media Agency:  Mediacom

Production: Warner Bros made the short films, whilst Mediacom Beyond Advertising oversaw the production

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