MullenLowe UK's Christmas ad for Co-op stresses the power of giving back to the community

In stark contrast to the glitz and glitter of other brand campaigns, the Co-op aims to keep it real this Christmas.

How do you urge people to spend money during a cost-of-living crisis without seeming insensitive to people's worries over money? One way is to lean into the idea that Christmas is about generosity, charity and helping others.

That's exactly the direction Co-op has taken with its Christmas brand campaign, which aims to showcase the power of giving back during the festive season in an effort to support local community causes.

Integrated communications agency MullenLowe UK has partnered with Co-op to launch the campaign, which features mini-films shot by MullenLowe at three key community causes – Bikeworks, We are Grow and The Drop Bereavement Centre – all of which aim to provide access to tools, wellbeing, growth, and community support.

In the films, community leads are presented with representations of important and well-needed gifts in large, branded Co-op gift boxes. It's all a long way from the kind of glitzy materialism and celebrity appearances showcased in other Christmas marketing. And in our view, that makes it all the better for making an emotional connection with the audience. (See our roundup of the Christmas ads of 2023 to compare and contrast.)

Why it works

By showcasing gift-giving at real-life locations, with real-life staff and real members of the community, the campaign highlights the impact donations have on people in a way that more generalised statements about charity would struggle to convey so effectively.

The campaign aims to encourage Co-op members to donate their unused rewards, via their Co-op app on their Co-op accounts to their Local Community Fund. Non-members and the wider community can donate when they shop at a local Co-op store. The supermarket will match the donations (up to £1 million) to continue giving the gift of community spirit and support over 2,500 local causes across the UK through the Co-op Local Community Fund.

Donations can help community projects and causes buy the things they need, from bikes to therapy sessions and gardening equipment to cooking facilities. The full campaign went live on 5 December and will stretch across all digital channels, including social media, video-on-demand, YouTube, online video, digital out-of-home, and display.

Not the traditional ad

"We are so grateful to be part of a campaign where we are giving back to the community through the magic of the holiday season and do something a little different to a traditional TV ad," says Kelly Cross, client partner at MullenLowe. "Collaborating with Co-op on the Christmas campaign has been a really rewarding experience for our team. It's more than just a campaign; it's a testament to the power of creativity in fostering connections and spreading goodwill."

"Co-op is different, and we are proud of this," adds Kenyatte Nelson, Co-op's chief membership and marketing officer. "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. 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."


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