Andrew Jordan--family man and new Club Med Sales president--was in for a surprise when he visited his company's Sandpiper resort in December.
At the Sandpiper, one Jordan child learned to water-ski; the other played a role in a circus. And Mom and Dad relaxed. Quite a departure from the Florida resort's reputation as a singles getaway.
But it's just those two seemingly divergent images that Mr. Jordan will have to get to co-exist as he dives into his first job in the tourism industry.
"The family vacation is somewhat of an oxymoron," Mr. Jordan said later. "We have a product that delivers something very special for the entire family."
FROM COCA-COLA TO CLUB MED
Mr. Jordan, 34, was named to the Club Med post last month, succeeding Jean Michel Landau, who remains as exec VP-chief operating officer. Mr. Jordan previously was global brand manager with Coca-Cola Co. At Club Med, he will be responsible for sales and marketing aimed at U.S. travelers.
His charge will be to create a consistent marketing message about Club Med's product image, which has diversified greatly from its one-time "singles" emphasis, Mr. Jordan said.
The goal is to spotlight Club Med's products--from singles retreats to couples clubs to family-oriented getaways--while maintaining the company's established upscale identity for offering all-inclusive resorts.
It's no small task for an increasingly competitive industry, especially in the U.S., where Club Med drew around 250,000, or 25%, of its guests in 1996.
The tourism industry's equivalent of a package good is the "all-inclusive," combining airfare, food and lodging. But for Mr. Jordan, that's just the starting point.
"Talking about Club Med as an all-inclusive is to talk about just a functional aspect of the club," he said. "What is truly different about Club Med is that it provides options on a vacation to do just about anything."
STARTING AT TOP
Mr. Jordan is the outsider who found his way into an industry by starting at the top. Providing that entree was his package-goods savvy, especially 2 1/2 years canvassing the globe, testing marketing strategies and writing plans for Coca-Cola.
Club Mediterranee Chairman-CEO Serge Trigano sought an executive with "fairly broad exposure within some consumer brands," Mr. Jordan said.
Mr. Jordan gained a keen perspective on the consumer not just from his stint at Coca-Cola but with four New York ad agencies. It was while at Lowe & Part-ners/SMS that Mr. Jordan came to the attention of Coca-Cola Chief Marketing Officer Sergio Zyman.
"Understanding the U.S. consumer is fundamental to anything that I do," Mr. Jordan said. "A U.S. consumer is different from an Asian consumer or a French consumer. My sensitivity to the U.S. consumer has sharpened because I have had the opportunity to be exposed to consumers from around the world."
IDEAL FOR JOB
A former soft-drink marketer is an ideal candidate for relaying a brand's message, said Scott Berman, director of hospitality consulting services with Coopers & Lybrand.
"To be leading edge, you have to understand the needs and wants of the consumer," Mr. Berman said. "There's nobody better than the beverage industry to understand that, and we see that in their methods of advertising."
Like the true package-goods veteran he is, Mr. Jordan is concerned with Club Med's brand identity. He said the challenge now is to boost the Club Med brand while bringing "clarity" to consumers about what the vacation experience can offer. He admitted that clear brand identity has been missing over the years.
The current campaign from Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG includes spots designed to speak to different audiences--singles, couples, families and vacationers in general. The latest batch of commercials broke last week.
Though Mr. Jordan inherited the campaign and agency, he's satisfied with both. Still, he looks forward to putting his "thumbprint" on future efforts.
Ultimately, Mr. Jordan contended, there's little difference between selling a Coke and a Club Med vacation. It's all marketing a package good by selling a mood.
"Nobody is buying Coca-Cola because it's brown sugar water. They're buying an image, a lifestyle and an attitude," he said. "The similar analogy with Club Med is it's not functional. It's about a dream, an excuse to have an unreal existence for a short period of time. That aspirational quality and image-driven benefit that Club Med provides is very consistent in package goods."
Copyright January 1997, Crain Communications Inc.