At our AGM in May we held a fringe event to debate concerns some of our members raised about our advertising in the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and the Sun.

Ahead of the AGM we also did research into our members’ newspaper choices, and looked carefully at the commercial data between our advertising and sales.

After listening carefully to our members and looking at the value of our commercial spend, we made the decision to be more proactive in our relationship rather than simply walking away from these titles.

The first part of this involves meeting with senior executives at these papers, and telling them how we and our members feel. Secondly, we’re going to take advantage of their mass circulations to promote our Co-op values to their millions of readers (many of them our own members). The first of these ads appeared last week, highlighting our extended commitment to tackling global water poverty:

waterthecoopway 2

You can read the full story from our Council President Nick Crofts, on our blog


Join the conversation! 17 Comments

  1. Why did the chicken cross the road?
    because he wanted to join his twin brother known as co-op on the other side.

  2. I have actively petitioned a number of supermarkets to stop selling the Sun, via the Total Eclipse of the Sun campaign and also the Stop funding Hate campaign.

    I don’t have Sky anymore as I just cannot bring myself to put any money into the coffers of Murdoch.

    As a member, I think it would be very in-keeping with the Coop ethics to walk away from advertising in either the Sun or DM, as well as following in the steps of a number of Merseyside retailers (and the 2 major football teams) and banning sale of the Sun in the locale. These are papers that spread lies and stir up hatred, they don’t promote diversity. We should be brave enough to stand apart.

    Justice for the 96.

    • The sun is not banned in liverpool. If i was a shopkeeper in liverpool and a football team tried telling me how to run my business, I would tell them to stick it. It is up to the customer if they want to buy it or not. I have brought the sun in many shops across liverpool.

      • I didn’t say it was banned in all of Liverpool, I said many retailers. Equally, the campaign wasn’t led by a football team, it was led by the victim’s families and survivors. It’s an emotive topic, but leaving this issue aside, looking at the demonizing of minorities,immigrants, phone hacking of Millie Dowler’s phone etc, I struggle with the ethics of this paper. But that’s the beauty of diversity Adi, we can all have an opinion and agree to differ.

  3. “After listening carefully to our members and looking at the value of our commercial spend, we made the decision to be more proactive in our relationship rather than simply walking away from these titles”…please can you add to this excuse “after we read the report by The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance”.

    The report highlights that these paper use “offensive, discriminatory and provocative terminology” they are examples of hate speech and discrimination.

    The majority of media income comes from advertising rather than sales. I think it is shameful that the Co-Op is financially supporting these publications.

    Let’s see this for what it is, a poor excuse to place more adverts in tabloid newspapers.

  4. Whilst I respect the decision that’s been made and the way that it was made (following discussion with members rather than autocratically), I can’t help but think its idealistic in the extreme.

    Will the people who buy and read these papers change their opinions and behaviours because of our advertising, or will everything else they read merely reinforce their existing beliefs that brought them to choose that paper in the first place?

    Moreover, will the editorial position of these papers change because of meetings with “senior executives”? Not a chance

    Sorry, but I think the decision is wrong – we shouldn’t be advertising with them, full stop.

  5. We should be making a statement, these papers demonise large portions of our society (immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees, homosexuals). Banning the Sun (especially in the North West) would be a huge statement and one in which the vast majority of people in the area would get behind.

    Do we honestly believe these papers will listen to a word we say? When the next awful headline comes out in one of these papers (Traitors to the People etc) do we really want to have Co-op advertisements inside??

  6. Good start, let’s go further. “Supporting UK communities. Thanks to our members and colleagues from France, Turkey, Ghana, Slovakia, Angola, Bahrain, Cambodia, India, Norway, Oman….”

  7. @Matt
    Your sweeping politicised and emotive comment above doesn’t sit well with me, nor likely with other Co-op members. As Nick’s update states, many members are readers of the publications in question (as well as other publications).
    Perhaps you could kindly clarify exactly to which ‘nazi loving homophobs’ you’re referring, to substantiate your suggestion that advertising with these mass circulation publications is placing financial gain over ethics?
    Do you have any alternative suggestions of sharing our values that you feel would be more proactive and pragmatic?

    • @cedric

      a few examples from the Daily Mail’s delightful history for you. You really don’t have to search that hard..

      1934 -urges young men to join the British Union of Fascists
      2009 – blames Stehphen Gately’s sexuality on his death
      2011 – asserted you could ‘catch gay’ by watching Eastenders
      2015 – describes supporters of German far right group Pegida – whose leader liked to dress up as Hitler as ‘decent German people’ and rational folks

      Add in a bit of climate change denial, hatred of migrants, trade unionists, the poor (well anyone claiming benefits) etc etc and there you have the newspaper who we think by running a few adverts will change the agenda they have had running for decades – Paul Dacre at the Daily Mail is probably laughing his head off at us.

      • well said Andrew

      • @Andrew
        I don’t doubt the Daily Mail, as other publications, have at times published offensive and unacceptable articles. But things aren’t as clear cut as some would have us believe; particularly when they view things from within limited ideological confines. Name a supposed ‘left-wing’ publication and I’ll wager one can go back through its history and equally find offensive and unacceptable articles selectively demonising others on religious, racial, or ethnic grounds, and supporting or remaining silent on conflicts resulting in appalling human destruction.
        For each selective DM example you’ve provided above, a simple search will likely reveal other DM articles directly contradicting them.
        One recent example from April 2017, covers the horrific circumstances of gay men in Chechnya. Perhaps more notable, are the readers’ comments condemning it.

      • @Cedric

        Your defence of the Daily Mail doesn’t sit well with me. This is the problem, the DM continues to spread hate and people are defending this and trying to normalise their crass headlines. It’s really not good enough to say “a simple search will likely reveal other DM articles directly contradicting them” Does that make everything OK then? That may be alright with you, but it’s certainly not alright with me.

      • So what about the sun then?

        Dident he mirror also publish the same story in 1934, where is the call for that to be banned?

        I will add that the articles in 1934 were before the Nazi party declare war and the britsih public and parliment appeared to have no issue with them prior to poland being invaded. After war broke out The Mail and Mirror became anti Nazi.

        Im not convinced the Daily Mail of now can be held responsable for what was published 83 years ago, when the paper was under different ownership. When times were very different. lets not forget that the British Empire was any better in the way we handled many of our wars and invasions of other countries, or the so called crusades,

        But they were different times and we cant be judged by the actions of our predecessors. Just like we do not hold Modern Germany accountable for its past.

        I suspect we could read all the papers historical editions and find something to be offended about.

  8. i think this is a really sensible approach… its best to talk to try and change their coverage for the better. Also like the idea that we a advertising the positive differwnce coop can make in these papers. Their readers are our members.

  9. Just doesn’t sit well paying these nazi loving homophobs, but money first ethics second I guess…

  10. Brilliant. Love the advert above!

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AGM 2017, Community, The Co-op Way