The Co-operative Wholesale Society has appointed Partners BDDH, the
agency behind the ethical advertising campaign of its subsidiary
organisation, the Co-operative Bank, to revamp the group’s entire pounds
10 million advertising business along similar lines.
CWS, which has been undergoing a shake-up since Graham Melmouth joined
as chief executive last year, was founded in the last century on the
basis of fair dealing between producer, seller and customer. But the
values underpinning its inception have seldom been emphasised in its
In contrast, the Co-operative Bank has become one of the most successful
parts of the Co-operative movement by using BDDH to focus on its ethical
investment policy, as well as its services.
It emerged this week that Melmouth secretly appointed BDDH several
months ago to look into the possibility of bringing CWS’s adspend under
a single umbrella, highlighting its underlying values of openness and
honesty. Bill Shannon, the head of corporate affairs for the Co-op,
confirmed BDDH’s appointment.
CWS and its sister organisation, Co-operative Retail Services, are both
part of the Co-operative movement, but cover different areas of the
country. CRS food stores appointed Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters earlier
CWS operates 700 food stores and a variety of other outlets, from
funeral parlours to farms. Its advertising was previously handled by a
number of different regional shops, as was the media buying. Shannon
would not say whether media would also be consolidated.
Nigel Long, the managing director of BDDH, refused to comment on the
deal, except to say that any arrangement with CWS would not conflict
with the agency’s Savacentre account because the target markets of each
business were very different.