Co-op ‘strips back gloss of advertising’ in new campaign that ups community focus

Film director Shane Meadows has directed 13 short films for the convenience retailer as part of its new ‘Great things happen when we work together’ campaign.

The Co-op has unveiled an ambitious new campaign focusing on the difference its members make to their local communities.

Set to launch across the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, the campaign’s primary ad (see above), created by Leo Burnett, has a script performed by George the poet that touches on the way the brand’s members are changing people’s lives. The use of poetry taps into a recent advertising trend that has seen brands such as Nationwide also use poetry to fuel their TV campaigns.

The above-the-line campaign also features 13 short films directed by This Is England director Shane Meadows and on the evening of 18 April, the Co-op will take over seven consecutive ad breaks from 8pm on More 4. All of the short films, which are 240 seconds in length, will then air back-to-back, with each focusing on a real-life example of a community Co-op members are transforming thanks to the 1% that is donated to local causes with every purchase they make.

And to add a layer of personalisation to the campaign, each of the short films will be tailored for cinema. This means cinemas in Manchester, for example, will only show Co-op ads that focus on the community work it is doing in the North West.

In an interview with Marketing Week in February, Helen Carroll, director of Co-op Brand, said she was tired of brands being ethical just for the sake of it and warned them shoppers will “see through” the act.

Speaking about this latest campaign, Carroll says it represents a shift in the way the Co-op plans to advertise. “This campaign marks the start of a new approach for us that doesn’t feel like advertising at all. It shows the power of community in a visual language that doesn’t hide anything,” she explains.

“The adverts strip back the gloss of advertising, making it unembellished and emotional, and find the beauty and truth in real people being honest to camera.”

For the 12 weeks ending 26 March, the Co-op enjoyed its 23rd consecutive period of growth, increasing sales by 0.8% year on year, according to Kantar Worldpanel. In 2017, it is attempting to attract one million new members.

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