The Co-op is ramping up its response to the Covid-19 pandemic by scrapping its annual Easter egg campaign and donating the £2.5m airtime to promote the work of FareShare, a charity that tackles hunger and food waste.
The TV ad, devised by Co-op and its agency Lucky Generals, features the retailer’s staff from around the country, battling through common video-conferencing mishaps – such as a failing microphone and kids in the background – to deliver a message about coming together and helping those in need.
It concludes: “Even though we’re apart, we can still help each other out.” Dentsu Aegis Network is handling media.
A new scheme encourages customers to support food banks by donating in-store at the till in amounts ranging from 50p to £5, or via text to a dedicated number. Co-op has already pledged £1.5m of food to FareShare.
Co-op retail chief executive Jo Whitfield said: “In these times of national crisis, food banks are a lifeline for those who rely on the donations to feed their families. Demand for food bank services has already gone up in the past couple of weeks and this is only set to grow as the number of people who unexpectedly find themselves without a regular or reduced income increases.
“Every day, we are seeing outstanding acts of kindness as communities pull together to support those who are struggling, and our amazing Co-op members and customers tell us they want to help to support their communities and do right by those in greatest need… If we all co-operate together, we can make a huge difference.”
Lucky Generals creative director Kate Murphy added: “We have found ourselves in a time when we need co-operation more than ever. And that’s no different for brands, who need to be finding ways to not only help the communities they are in, but also allow those communities to pull together and make a real difference in a time of need for so many. We hope this ad plays a part.”
Co-op will also be paying out £4.5m in the next couple of weeks to community groups; the money has been donated by customers through the 1% member reward programme and cash raised from sales of carrier bags.
Earlier this week, the retailer launched a 10% discount scheme for NHS workers and a plan to give them priority access to all of its stores.
Eligible Co-op Academy school kids are getting £20 of Co-op Food vouchers a week to make sure they do not go hungry while schools are closed. It has also created thousands of new temporary jobs which will support those who have been let go through the crisis.
Meanwhile, it has set up a scheme dubbed ‘Co-operate’, which connects people to local support and information, in addition to its partnerships on mental well-being with Mind, SAMH and Inspire.
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