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.

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