Co-op plots 50m ad drive to promote ethical stance

The Co-operative Group is planning a 50m advertising relaunch next year, which will promote the mutually-owned organisations ethical approach by contrasting its own practices with the corporate greed mentality of many public companies.

The Co-operative Group is planning a £50m advertising relaunch next year, which will promote the mutually-owned organisation’s ethical approach by contrasting its own practices with the “corporate greed” mentality of many public companies.

A £10m umbrella branding campaign, created by McCann Erickson London, will promote the Co-op’s ethical position across its activities, which span over 4,300 high-street outlets, including grocers, a pharmacy chain, travel agents, funeral parlours and Co-operative Financial Services. Each business group will also run separate ad campaigns with functional messages. The group’s media spend will substantially increase from this year’s £30m.

The relaunch had been planned for this year, but was delayed as the Co-op introduced new branding into its estate of 2,200 high-street convenience stores.

The campaign will explain that Co-op’s profits are distributed to 2.5 million members, who pay £1 to join and earn points when they buy goods and services from the group. It aims to build on the Co-op Group’s strapline “Good for everyone”.

Co-operative Group chief executive Peter Marks says shoppers are “hungry for something different” and are keen to hear an ethical message. He adds: “Corporate greed is being seen as not good, and people are getting tired of it. We offer something different – yes we have to make a profit, it is what we do with the profits that makes us different.

“We have a different DNA from most PLCs. We aren’t just maximising wealth for a few shareholders. Our customers are our shareholders.”

Last week, the Co-op unveiled the £1.56bn acquisition of rival high-street grocery chain Somerfield. Its 880 stores will be converted to the Co-op brand after the deal is ratified by competition authorities, giving the Manchester-based retailer an 8% share of the grocery market.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here