Co-op swerves flashy Christmas campaign in favour of cash boost for communities

The retailer’s festive push focuses on the ‘gift of community spirit’

Georgie Moreton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


As the Christmas festive ad bonanza is well underway, this year the Co-op is doing things differently and shunning a star-studded Christmas spot in favour of a campaign that focuses on the spirit of community.

Rather than ‘spending millions in the battle of the Christmas ads’, the retailer has instead opted to focus on the ‘gift of community spirit’. Over the festive period the retailer is calling on donations from its members and customers which it pledges to match.

In a move that puts communities first, the Co-op is aiming to showcase the power of cooperation and togetherness. Each year, any profits are invested back into the business and together with its members the Co-op can provide financial support to thousands of local community causes. Over the last few years the Co-op has given over £100 million to good community causes.

This Christmas the Co-op intends to continue this good work and is calling on its members and customers to help support by giving a ‘gift’ that can make a real difference.

The retailer is encouraging members to donate the money on their rewards balance via the app, alongside in-store donations which both members and customers can easily make at the till points. Co-op is pledging to match the member and customer donations up to £1m to spread community spirit far and wide.

The Co-op has over 4.5M active members. Many of them have unused personal rewards sitting in Co-op wallets, an average of around £5 per active member. This scheme allows members to easily donate those balances that would otherwise go unused. The significance of those smaller individual balances will grow through collective impact and even more benefit can be felt by community causes across the UK.

‘Co-op is different, and we are proud of this.  Our members own our business and together we show every single day of the year how powerful cooperation can be as a force for good. After the tough year consumers and communities have faced, I know our members will step up and donate their member wallets this Christmas, or donate in our stores along with our customers, knowing we will stand by them, and match their generosity.” says Kenyatte Nelson, Chief Membership and Marketing Officer Co-op.

He continues: “Giving the gift of community spirit isn’t a trite marketing tagline, it’s a genuine desire by our members, customers and Co-op, to amass a Christmas funding boost to make a real difference to the communities we serve.’

A supporting multi-channel campaign launched on Wednesday 22nd November and runs across out of home, print and digital, broadcast partnership, VOD and Co-op social and digital media, supported by PR activity. Lucky Generals created the campaign’s overall strategic and creative platform to encourage Co-op members and customers to give the “gift of community spirit” this year.

MullenLowe UK were responsible for bringing the idea to life in Film, working on the ground with 3 grass roots community causes to show genuine reactions and joy when they received what they really wanted this Christmas.

Funds raised will be shared equally between all current Local Community Fund causes and paid out to them in early 2024. Active Co-op Members can donate now, by logging in to the Co-op Membership app.

Through shifting the lens and focusing on the impact of community this Christmas, the Co-op side steps gimmicks in favour of supporting where it truly matters.

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