[UPDATED] First Choice modifies stance on News of The World


The growing clamour for News of The World advertisers to withdraw support from the paper appears to be gaining ground among the travel brands drawn into the row. 

Despite yesterday saying it had no plans to change its advertising schedule (see below) Tui Travel, which owns the Thomson and First Choice brands, has altered its stance today.

Although it does not go as far as other advertisers like Ford which has said it will pull advertising Tui has certainly hardened its stance as the Twitter campaign gathers pace and traditional media make more allegations.

Christian Cull, Tui Travel director of communications, said in a statement today: “First Choice advertise from time to time with the News of the World depending on what campaigns we have. 

“We have no plans to advertise this week. Without wishing to prejudice any investigations in progress, we are reviewing the options, as is reasonable in such unusual circumstances.”

Below is our original story from yesterday:

Travel firms have been drawn into the controversy over the News of the World phone hacking allegations surrounding the Millie Dowler case.

Members of the micro-blogging service have used the #notw hashtag to mount a campaign urging the Sunday red top’s advertisers to reconsider their spend with the paper.

Some have even called for public boycotts of News of the World advertisers.

Travel retailer the Co-operative, operator First Choice, holiday park operator Butlins and easyJet have all been targeted.

Twitter users confront News of the World advertisers following new phone-hacking allegations
Two of the tweets confronting travel brands

Travolution has asked all the travel brands implicated for a response to the campaign. A spokesperson for The Co-operative Group said: “These are allegations. We have no plans to withdraw our advertising.”

And a spokeswoman for Tui Travel followed the Co-op line: “Thomson and First Choice will not be changing their advertising schedule,” she said.

And an easyJet spokesman said: “easyJet understands the concerns raised by the public, including many of our own staff and passengers, about these serious and shocking claims. We will actively monitor the situation and await the outcome of any investigation.”

So far Butlins parent company Bourne Leisure has not supplied a comment.

The Guardian newspaper claimed yesterday that News of the World journalists had hacked into teenager Mille Dowler’s voicemails after her disappearance in 2002.

It claimed some messages were even deleted to free up space, potentially giving the impression that she was still alive.

As the trial of nightclub bouncer Levi Bellfield heard, she had in fact been killed moments after going missing. Bellfield was given a life sentence for her murder.

Travolution will update this story with statements from the other firms embroiled in the Twitter campaign when we have them.

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