Co-operative Bank renews ethical creds via MullenLowe debut TV work

First ad by MullenLowe since it won account.

The Co-operative Bank is launching its first major campaign in nearly three years with a TV spot highlighting its ethical stance and telling consumers: "It's hard to be good, but it's good when we try."

It is the first work to be created for the bank by MullenLowe since the agency won the account in 2018 and the first since the business was spun off from the Co-operative Group in 2017.

The 30-second spot will launch on TV on Easter Sunday (21 April) during The Durrells on ITV1, Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins for SU2C on Channel 4 and during the Manchester United vs Everton Premier League game on Sky Sports. It will be supported by a multimedia campaign spanning on-demand, digital, social and radio.

In the film, a couple wake up in their bed to find their ceiling is covered in Post-it notes. The woman is then seen carrying a ridiculously tall column of paper waste out to her recycling bin.

It progresses with a series of scenes in which the woman does good – but clearly arduous – acts, including carrying her bike up several flights of stairs, making tea for a multitude of her office colleagues and buying scissors before using them to cut the ribbon at the opening of a community centre.

"It's hard to be good," the voiceover says. "But it's good when we try. And when we co-operate with others to get things done, it feels really good. So why not bank with someone who shares that commitment."

The ad ends with the slogan: "The Co-operative bank. For people with purpose." The bank's website and branches will be revamped to include the new slogan.

It was filmed in the north-west and features a real-life Manchester skate park called Projekts MCR, a body part-funded by the bank. The spot was created by Tom Hudson and Mark Elwood, and directed by Si and Ad through Academy, with media handled by Hearts & Science. The CRM elements of the campaign were produced by BGL.

Before MullenLowe won the business and the bank's ownership was transferred to a private-equity consortium, Leo Burnett handled The Co-operative Bank's advertising.

Previous ads also centred on the Co-op Group's ethical policy and followed a number of promises that it made in January 2015. This was in the wake of financial losses and a scandal around its then chairman, Paul Flowers, who was dubbed "the crystal methodist".

The Co-operative Bank's last major repositioning campaign launched in 2016, "It's good to be different".

Alastair Pegg, The Co-operative Bank's marketing director, said: "Our approach to banking is based on the values of the co-operative movement and the benefit of bringing like-minded people together to make a positive difference. We believe in the power of ‘we’ and our bank has done so for over 145 years.

"We have always been for 'people with purpose' at The Co-operative Bank, demonstrated through our customer-led ethical policy, our campaigning and support of social enterprises and credit unions, among many other things. Our new campaign will put our brand difference at the heart of the creative, acknowledging that 'it’s hard to do good, but it’s good when you try'."