CLIENT OF THE WEEK: Modernising the Co-op chain. John Bowes picked stars’ relatives to front the new campaign. By Jade Garrett

The Co-op chain of supermarkets is undergoing a transformation.

The Co-op chain of supermarkets is undergoing a transformation.

The Co-operative Wholesale Society, its parent company, is refurbishing

shops and sending staff on extensive training courses. And it has just

launched a pounds 5 million campaign through Partners BDDH to modernise

the brand and position the Co-op as a business with the values of a

modern family. This marks its first ad-vertising for 20 years (Campaign,

last week).

’We are well aware that we don’t have a fashionable image and this needs

to be addressed,’ says John Bowes, the general marketing manager just

five months into his job at CWS.

CWS claims to be the biggest consumer co-op in Europe and has interests

in the farming, funeral, travel, banking and insurance industries. ’We

are a different kind of organisation so we need a different way of

expressing our ideas,’ Bowes says.

One way he feels this has been achieved is by using relatives of famous

people in the three television executions. The commercials feature Scott

Stringfellow (Peter’s son), Amanda Rayner (Claire’s daughter) and Sue

Beadle (Jeremy’s wife) each adopting the persona of their famous other

half. Bowes wants to portray the idea that Co-op does not just think of

families in the nuclear sense. ’It’s a family business and families

change,’ he says.

The ads also promote the store’s loyalty card and draw consumers’

attention to the clarity of labels on products. ’We already have the

most advanced labelling system in the UK grocery industry,’ Bowes

claims. ’We believe the public has a right to know what they’re


Two more television ads will launch before the end of the year,

featuring relatives of celebrities. These will be supported by radio ads

and a national press campaign in the broadsheets with a World Cup


How have the stars’ relatives coped with their acting roles so far? ’I

think people will have to watch the ads and judge for themselves,’ Bowes

says diplomatically.