In the midst of a cost of living crisis, the team at MullenLowe Group UK knew that they had to be authentic when developing Co-op’s Christmas advert. They bucked the trend of expensive Christmas ads to make a tangible difference to communities.

Co-op is putting money into a new partnership with a membership-based food scheme and community hub called Your Local Pantry, which plans to grow from 75 sites to 225 over the next three years. MullenLowe showcased their work through an Instagram Live Stream with celebrity chef Big Zuu.

MullenLowe Group UK Creative Directors Loren Cook and Bronwyn Sweeney, who developed the idea after we won Co-op’s digital account in August, said: “At Christmas we all want to put out work that gets talked about and gets loads of attention. But given everything that’s happening with the cost-of-living crisis and Co-op’s ongoing commitment to supporting communities, it didn’t feel right to put out a big TV advert.

“Instead, we decided to shine a light on Your Local Pantry, a project that gives people access to quality food at more affordable prices, letting people shop on smaller budgets with dignity, which is supported by Co-op Members when they shop with Co-op.”

Mel Matson, director of customer proposition and communications at Co-op, said: “At Co-op, community is at the heart of everything we do. We have seen many of our competitors attempt to find the right tone for their Christmas ads this year, to reflect the mood of the nation.

“Rather than spending multimillions of pounds on a traditional TV ad this year, we felt the best way to show our commitment to making things a little fairer for our communities, is to pull our Christmas ad altogether.”

The live stream will also feature a special appearance from One Pound Meals chef, presenter and author Miguel Barclay to share useful tips and tricks to make groceries go further.

Big Zuu added: “Everyone deserves access to great quality food at affordable prices. I hope that by visiting the Peckham Pantry and cooking up some healthy, tasty and more affordable meals with the team, more people in need will seek out community initiatives like Your Local Pantry.”

Acording to Co-op, Your Local Pantry regular members save an average of £1,000 a year and the partnership’s aim is to support over 32,0000 households over the next three years.

MullenLowe collaborated with PR and influencer agency Halpern, creative agency Lucky Generals, and media agency Carat collaborated with Co-op to create the integrated campaign.

Find out more on MullenLowe Group UK.