For any business rebuilding itself and looking to grow in very competitive markets, using advertising to attract new customers is really important. But some Co-op members are concerned about where our brand is advertised. They’ve asked us to think carefully about the media we support through our advertising investment. Until recently these concerns have mostly centred around three popular newspapers whose views some find disagreeable and damaging. More recently we’ve seen concerns raised about advertising on YouTube which risks our brand appearing alongside grossly inappropriate content, including extremist videos.

We intend to tackle both issues in a way that protects our brand, our members and our customers but also recognises the importance of a free press and the commercial importance of advertising – print and digital – to growing our membership and our businesses.

We don’t have all the answers but here’s what we are doing: 

Until we are satisfied that our digital advertising will only ever appear next to appropriate content, we have suspended paid advertising with YouTube. We’ve seen the ‘advertiser safeguards‘ Google has published and we’ll watch to see how these work before we decide whether or not to reinstate advertising with them.

When the Stop Funding Hate campaign appealed to us to stop advertising in a small number of newspapers we also took that request seriously. We launched an internal audit of our activity, analysed its payback, and talked to our members about it at a National Members’ Council meeting. It’s a less straight-forward issue. Many people buy these papers at the Co-op and some of them will be our members. Advertising in these papers also drives sales which are important to our businesses.

We know we can’t sit on the fence and in any case that’s not the Co-op Way. So we committed to do two things to reflect our values and support our business. Things that recognise the diversity of our members and customers, that don’t suppress the freedom of the press, which is a fundamental part of a democracy, that support the growth of our businesses, but crucially challenge those views expressed in print which we and many of our members believe are incompatible with our values of equality, solidarity, self-help and openness.

Firstly we decided to use our contacts with publishers at every level to make the case for change. To tell them how our members felt and why the stories they have published challenge the relationship we have with them. We’ve already had meetings with senior executives at the Daily Mail and The Sun, and the discussions will continue.

Secondly we decided to look at using our advertising in these titles to tell their millions of readers about some of the things our Co-op is doing to tackle issues that we feel strongly about, such as modern slavery or water poverty in Africa and promoting Fairtrade programmes in developing countries. If we want to campaign for change, we believe it is better to engage and challenge, than to walk away. And we will keep at it.

Finally, we also recognise that the speed at which technology is changing the advertising market means we can address a problem today only to see another emerge tomorrow. So, we are also extending the ongoing review of our advertising policies, which we kicked off earlier in the year, to look at all the platforms we use and others we don’t but perhaps could.

We know what we’re doing won’t satisfy everybody and we know we will have to watch closely to see if what we are doing has any impact. We believe, for now, it strikes the right balance between doing the right thing for those who need a voice and the right thing for our 4.3m members and our businesses.

Nick Crofts
President National Members’ Council

Join the conversation! 122 Comments

  1. I have banked with the Co-op for nearly 30 years and whilst the story around digital media is welcome the rest I fear is profit before ethics. I shall this weekend be researching a new bank provider for the first time since leaving University.

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  2. Sorry, that’s just not good enough – I’m going elsewhere.

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  3. Well written, certainly. But it doesn’t address the issue.
    It is quite remarkable how companies who profess progressive values are capable of making a straightforward issue complicated in order to delay and obfuscate.
    To say that these newspapers hold views that “some may find” disagreeable is certainly an understatement. They have achieved international notoriety for hard right views and had a role in stirring up populist anti foreign, nationalist feelings.
    I am frankly surprised that the Co-op is so naive as to believe that it has the clout to change the editorial culture of these rags. Best of luck with the discussions, but if the Co-op believes it can talk the Mail, Sun and Express round to toning it down a bit then it is quite deluded.
    The question is simple, does the editorial stance of some of the UK press come into conflict with ideals and values of the Co-op?
    If so, do not associate with them. You can sell their papers, we haven’t asked for a boycott of these spiteful rags, just don’t support them with your advertising.

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  4. Unfortunately it’s not good enough. I will continue to walk a little further to your competitors store until you stop funding hate.

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  5. The Daily Mail and the Sun are deliberately spreading lies designed to divide people along racial and religious lines. These publications are completely against what I see to be the principles of the co-op or at least the principles that attracted me to becoming a member. There are numerous other areas for the co-op to advertise so they should stop using members money to fund hatred immediately.

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  6. I understand that the Co-op can’t boycott newspapers simply because they have right-wing views. But I do think a red line was crossed with the Daily Mail’s headline “Enemies of the People” – attacking the independence of the judiciary is an unacceptable attack on our constitution. For this alone I would at least stop advertising in the Daily Mail for a fixed period.

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  7. I am a Co Op member. The response may be measured, but ultimately it is some weak tea. The argument on freedom of the press, for example. Why concern about where Co Op advertising appears online, and no concern about the veracity and tone of the papers in which these adverts are displayed? Can you really have it both ways? You either care about how you look next to a headline, or you don’t. And it is extremely hard to swallow the idea that anyone actually believes that somehow, by advertising the sale of groceries, the Co Op will change the opinions of readers of the Express, Mail or Sun via osmotic transfer of a set of values that aren’t actively expressed. Its not as though each advert comes with a paragraph or 2 outlining these Co Op values. All that anyone can take away from seeing these adverts is that you, as an apparently ethical organisation, are apparently quite happy to associate with the views expressed in the papers you choose to be seen in. At best, you look like money grubbing hypocrites, and at worst, you look like you condone those views, you could even be seen to be giving them some kind of ethical credibility, if anyone buying those papers even gives a damn about your values! I’m sad to say it, but I’ll be moving my bank accounts elsewhere, and I’m no longer going to be shopping with you. I’d just expected a little more from an organisation that is supposedly values-driven.

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  8. I’m a coop member, and I think the coop needs to reinforce its talks with newspaper owners/editors by withdrawing advertising until those papers cease publishing misleading and racist stories, editorial and comment pieces.
    This is not interfering with press freedom, just encouraging editors to exercise sensible discretion on what gets published under their banner.
    It’s extremely unlikely that these few titles will exercise such discretion whilst major socially responsible corporations like the coop continue to fund their hate via advertising revenue

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  9. A co-operative is a place where it’s members collectively and safely, and with mutual respect, can debate, consider and determine a course of action in an informed way within a framework of democratic structures and ethical values. No other commercial organisation offers that opportunity, and I’m glad that Nick and the Members’ Council are responding to members’ concerns by way of a dialogue. Sometimes it can take time to reach the right decision. I recall how many years it took to win the case within the Co-op for boycotting apartheid, but we reached the decision to boycott in the end thanks to members’ persistence (and today people are amazed that it could have been any different). In doing so, we helped to change the way people saw things. Sometimes the right decision can be reached much faster, as with the Co-op’s trailblazing adoption of Fairtrade, leaving other retailers having to catch up. Again, we changed the way people saw things. Just walking away in a huff because you don’t like a point of view misses the democratic point of being a Co-op member, especially if it simply means using another shop that advertises in the same newspapers. A co-op is for life, not just for a bottle of cheap plonk (though Co-op Fairtrade wine is better than all the rest!). For the record, I’m for #stopfundinghate

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  10. Come on Nick. Co-op members by and large choose to bank/shop/spend at Coop because they feel that the company has its heart in the right place. This is either right or it’s not. If it’s not that’s fine, it’s no different to other high street banks but if you don’t walk away from the Daily mail, Sun and daily express then you fail the customers seeking a genuine choice. Be brave and others will follow!

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  11. Come on Nick, push the envelope. You have a real opportunity to make a difference and stop funding hate. Worry less about protecting the voice of those enabled to speak hate and more about those without the current ability to have a basic standard of living without fear of violence or prejudice. That’s the freedom of speech we should be seeking to promote. Try harder.

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  12. As a person who banks with the COOP due to their values it is disappointing to learn that they couldn’t force the newspapers to only place their adverts next to appropriate content.

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  13. Nick thank you for your update. As a Co op member I muse respectfully disagree with you when you suggest that withdrawal of your advertising somehow impinges on the freedom of the press. It does not. The publications in question are still free to print whatever they want, but we will have sent a clear message that we do not want to be associated with hatred and bigotry.

    I’m pleased you’ve had meetings with these publications. I hope they take seriously the concerns you have raised.

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  14. The Co-Op is supposed to be an ethical supermarket and that is one of the main reasons I shop there (a Tesco is much closer to me). I am disappointed that you have not addressed this issue — having ‘meetings with senior executives at the Daily Mail and The Sun’ is not enough. I will stop shopping there until you change your policies because I don’t want to contribute with my money to the ideology and divisiveness espoused by these papers. Please let us know when you change your policies and I will be back.

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  15. Like others, I am far less concerned about the Co-op advertising on YouTube and Google where the content against which the adverts may appear is down to the user.

    Advertising in the likes of the Daily Mail, Daily Express is an active choice made by the Co-op. Freedom is the ability to make your own choices. The Co-op would be demonstrating its commitment to Freedom by choosing to withdraw its advertising from those organisations who do not uphold the Co-op’s views.

    I am a Co-op customer.

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  16. Of course you should not advertise in those newspapers but why don’t you stop stocking them. Would that not send a much clearer message to the editors? I doubt it would affect customers much at all.

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  17. Thank you for such a well considered response to this debate. It is clear that the Co op are taking this issue very seriously. How likely is it though that you can “use our contacts with publishers at every level to make the case for change” Will this have any real impact? Stop Funding Hate are not asking leading brands to try and influence editorial policy, and it is highly doubtful that the Daily Mail and the Sun would accept attempts to do this. Please do keep trying to find alternative advertising channels and send a clear message to the hate fuelled divisive media by walking away.

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  18. Hi Nick,
    It’s nice your spending some ​time on looking at the issue, but its just not good enough, I’m afraid. You may gain more customers by advertising in these shameful papers, but you are also likely to lose core customers with high expectations and morals, like me.
    I prefer your French bread (especially) and lunch time meal deals over any other supermarket and even have a co-op members card, but as you are clearly​ funding hate, I will no longer be funding the co-op.

    You will lose customers like me until you change your position, so you will need to ensure your advising works well, to compensate for losing your core customers.

    Thank you.
    Kind Regards,
    Alex

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  19. The local Co-op is just a 5 minute walk from home, I go there regularly but not any longer until you change your mind on this.

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  20. I find your decision quite baffling. Youtube is, for better or worse, the home of video content on the internet. There is almost no editorial policy. For some, that means your ads will appear next to cat videos, or their favourite cartoons, or, if they use Youtube to access inappropriate materials, next to those.

    The newspapers highlighted by Stop Funding Hate are not open platforms. They are very much editorially directed outlets. To advertise there means directly supporting and endorsing the Katie Hopkinses of this world.

    You have got it wrong. Advertising on Youtube is virtually neutral. Advertising in tabloids is an endorsement of a specific editorial direction.

    Your decision is deeply unethical and not at all a balanced approach.

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  21. I too find the Co-op’s stance somewhat confusing. Sure, there are many great campaigns that the group is involved with BUT that is an irrelevance in terms of what Stop Funding Hate are asking.The relevance and urgency of tackling editorial content that is designed to whip up hatred and mistrust in the UK should be a priority for any UK based organisation with ethical trading at its heart. If the Co-op won’t pull advertising from these titles then perhaps we, as customers, should stop using their services. If we can’t generate an ethical response from the so-called champions of ethical retailing then we can hurt them by reducing their revenue. Simple.

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  22. Most commercial concerns have no genuine ethical stance. A little lip service is the best one can hope for. For them profit is in effect the only driver and therefore, if they believe that advertising in a particular newspaper helps their profit figures then they have no qualms about doing so.
    The Co-op is different. Its origins, its chosen economic structure, are based on a rejection of capitalism and an embrace of socialism. The business and its ethics are inseparable. Or should be.
    “Many people buy these papers at the Co-op and some of them will be our members. Advertising in these papers also drives sales which are important to our businesses.”
    Which is more important, ethics or profits? By continuing to give economic support to the Mail, Express and Sun with its advertising, the Co-op makes clear its answer to that question.
    If the Co-op wanted to ride the two horses at once then perhaps it could include a statement in every advert in these papers which read “The Co-operative Society strongly disassociates itself from the frequent racist, anti-refugee, anti-immigrant and anti-worker opinions expressed in this newspaper.” That would be a start.

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  23. I’m sorry but as a Co-op member I find it utterly disgusting that you don’t simply choose to walk away from funding these people. The Daily Mail, Daily Express and The Sun are all owned by Murdoch, they can always meet their shortfall from their other hateful sister companies at NewsCorp. They will be associated with spreading hatred no matter how hard you guys try to convince them to play nice. It’s laudable of you to support a free press but if you’re going to do that, do it with papers which are in line with you and your members’ ethics, otherwise the Co-op becomes a company which doesn’t know how to abide by its most fundamental principles. In fact it makes me wonder what other questionable business practices you happily fund in the name of “supporting a free X”.

    The question becomes how many customers are you willing to lose for the prospect of gaining more through advertising in the hateful press?

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    • I’m sorry but I have to correct you. Billionaire Murdoch and News Corp own neither the Mail or the Express. The Daily Mail is owned by billionaire Jonathan Harmsworth, Viscount Rothermere. It has always been a vehicle for far right views and supported fascism before WWII. The Daily Express is owned by billionaire Richard Desmond who made his money from porn magazines and OK!
      Britain has a free press. You just have to be a billionaire to buy your way into it.

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  24. “If not you, who? If not now, when?”

    This seemed a first like a good start, because you’re clearly thinking and communicating about this.. but it isn’t good enough.

    What’s been happening with Google is due to oversight and a lack of safeguards and should be easily fixed.

    On the other hand, what’s been happening over many, many years with The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Daily Express is a deliberate, precise and concerted effort to stir up ignorance and hatred between people. And it’s all in order to push an agenda and to make money, pure and simple.

    What meetings can you possibly have with them that will change this view? The only thing they’re motivated by is money. Our country, now more than ever, needs a company willing to stand up and lead for others to follow. John Lewis wouldn’t do it. If not the Co-Op, then who is left? And who could possibly be more appropriate?

    Stop Funding Hate? Well, you haven’t. Sadly, with this lack of action, the Co-Op becomes that little bit more of an unethical bank like all the others.

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  25. I am so disappointed by this. We have a Tesco, a Sainsburys and a Coop in our village. Like most people, I shop at the place that’s easiest to get to. That is never the Coop. You need to give me a reason to choose your store over the others. This would be it! Being able to walk in and do a week’s shopping and know that my money is not funding newspapers that peddle lies – that would get me into your shop with a trolley, not just a basket!

    These papers do not merely have an editorial viewpoint of which I disapprove. They tell lies! All the time! On the front page, in big black headlines. They do it to stir up hate. Their retractions are printed much later on a verso page in a teeny tiny font. And by then, the damage has been done. You are not going to be able to talk them into telling the truth. So make a stand. Be the first. Show other advertisers it can be done. Do it with pride, advertise your ethics, and those of us who would love to spend our money with a store that walks the walk will travel to shop with you. Trolleys, not baskets! That’s what you’d be seeing.

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  26. Disappointing cop-out. Have been considering closing Co-op bank account due to closure of my local branch, this is the decider.

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  27. Appreciate the thought you have put into this. Could you keep us updated on how the editorial teams at the tabloids you are speaking to respond? I, for one, am not happy that the Co-Op is funding publications which openly denigrate and vilify immigrants. But I do appreciate that simply pulling the advertising is not a decision to be taken lightly.

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  28. “We’ve already had meetings with senior executives at the Daily Mail and The Sun, and the discussions will continue.”

    The idea that the Daily Mail and The Sun would ever change the toxic hate fuelled editorial stance after “discussions’ with the Co-op group is frankly absurd. The only way these business will ever change is by hitting them where it hurts through their advertising revenue. The Co-op’s withdrawing of advertising would not alone bring about change but it would be a start and encourage other ethically minded businesses to follow suit.

    But above and beyond that this is both an ethical and moral issue. By continue to pay for advertising space you are using your members money (including mine) to fund hatred, stir up fear and loathing of immigrants, and hatred of muslims in particular. This is a simple unarguable fact. It is also morally repugnant.

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  29. Disappointed with the diplomatic but negative response of Coop. StopFundingHate should work in two ways.

    First, inform their network which companies support xenophobic behaviour through their advertising. Unfortunately Coop is still in this category. For a company that introduced fair trade and organic, this is unacceptable.

    Second, and most important inform their audience which companies support inclusion irrespective of origin, colour or religion. Right now most of the supermarkets support xenophobic newspapers. Giving to our network a choice, an alternative to these far-right supporting organisations, will be the way forward.

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  30. While I quite like the idea of using your advertising space to spread positive messages, the idea that you can (or should) directly influence the editorial line of these papers seems misguided to me. To talk about the importance of press freedom and at the same time tell us you are meeting with publishers to seek to affect their content is confused at best. I’m very concerned about the influence of big corporations who fund the mainstream media through advertising revenue – we know they have some control over content, and it’s undoubtedly a bad thing. The Co-op should not be attempting to emulate the big corporations in this way (and you have no hope of matching them anyway). The only ethical way to take responsibility for your role in the hate these papers spread is to stop funding it: stop advertising with them.

    Selling papers to consumers is not the main funding source for publishers; it’s the sale of advertising space (or, in fact, of viewers of the advertising space, i.e. readers) to advertisers that’s the real business. (See Noam Chomsky’s ‘Manufacturing Consent’ for more – film based on it here: https://youtu.be/AnrBQEAM3rE)

    You could also choose to stop selling hate-filled newspapers in your stores. Please don’t try to make a freedom of speech argument against that – the papers have a legal right to say what they want (up to a point, hate speech is a different matter) and you have a legal right to be selective in your choice of products to stock. Make the Morning Star a standard offering in every store if you want to change minds!

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  31. While the response is measured, and logical, and I can get behind the concept of ‘breaking into the echo chamber’, this does not seem like enough. I feel that Co-op is using existing concerns to offset and minimise this issue: while water in Africa is important, and Co-op should be applauded for their efforts, the issue of funding hate is something that impacts on our doorstep and should not be swept away. For me, the rise in xenophobia and racism has a direct impact. Each time my partner leaves for work, I worry that he will be at the brunt of a racially motivated attack with this new wave of hatred that is being normalised and spread by newspapers like these. For our family, we do not have the luxury of ‘waiting to see’ if talks make an impact, nor just waiting and hoping for change: while we fully support you international efforts, the reality is WE WILL NOT FUND HATE, as it directly impacts us. Our money is going into your pocket, and we are trusting you to use this wisely, to use it for good in line with Co-op ideals that attracted us in the first place. You’re not doing this, you are not giving what you promised, and you are directly funding companies that pose a direct threat to my family. We cannot pay you to do this, as in effect we are funding the threat against ourselves by allowing you to place our money with these companies, and we will begin moving our business away from you if this is not directly addressed within the next few weeks.

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  32. Thank you for your initial steps, I think this is a really positive, hopeful way to begin to address one of this most important issues we currently face. I’m glad to read that you will be watching closely to see if what you are doing has an impact – we will be doing the same.

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  33. It is encouraging to see that the Co-op is looking at where it’s advertising appears but, given the history of hate-pedalling newspapers such as the Mail, Sun & Express it seems unlikely that they will change their poisonous editorial line after a conversation with the Co-op. Give them a week to subscribe to the aims of Hope not Hate and if they don’t do it I think we should walk away. The co-op can’t claim to be an ethical organisation while advertising in these rags.

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  34. I am glad the co op is taking the matter seriously. I shop there and am glad to pay the extra for a company with ethics. The united nations calls two of the papers extremist and says the other is particularly against muslims. These papers should only be printing real news without the added hate against members of society who are a huge customer and staff base for the co op. If the adverts continue they should contain a statement of values AND a warning about fake news and opinion in papers. Maybe that would be more effective than pulling the adds? Echo chambers just propagate hate. Alternatively, they continue advertising with the above prominent warnings for a short term, on the proviso the papers aim to start reporting real news without the added propaganda. If nothing changes they pull the ads entirely? Hate mail is not the place to advertise for our ethical and inclusive co op. If it continues as now then i, for one, will be changing to home delivery. Which is easier anyway. Words are a very powerful tool and newspapers have a responsibility not to use them for hate in 21st C Britain.

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  35. I hate to see adverts for my bank right next to bigoted news stories and would like to see this happen less often. I’m still unhappy that the Co-operative Bank closed Palestinian accounts. I’m also really unhappy that you are closing my local branch and putting additional pressure on our few-and-far-between local Post Offices. Seriously considering leaving my so-called ‘ethical’ bank.

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  36. I think you should neither stock nor advertise on these publications. Will it really damage the business so much if you don’t? Surely the cost of advertising against the possible loss incurred is not that great. Does selling these papers make a huge profit? I know you will say it brings people into the store but what analysis has been done on this? Perhaps by not stocking these papers some may switch to an alternative. If you are determined to continue advertising then you should use that space to put across the ethics of the company and your members. I wonder how many members will stop using your services if the protest is not a little more visible

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  37. Good news about YouTube, but very disappointing regarding the newspapers – essentially saying “We are aware of the issue but we’re not going to do anything about it”. Please try harder.

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  38. I think that this is a good start.

    The vast majority of the content of these newspapers may not be at all in tune with my own views but it is not overt hate. It is that small subset of articles that a just pure vitriol that need to be targeted e.g. Katie Hopkin’s piece in the Mail this week on the recent terror attack in Westminster. Is there some way that advertisers can focus on editions and online content that carry these articles ?

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  39. Just stop paying them for advertising space

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  40. I would have liked to have seen Coop lead the way by refusing to advertise in and therefore pay revenue to tabloid papers that incite hatred by their editorial content. In my opinion it is a ‘cop out’ on your part to suggest you might influence these papers if you continue to advertise in them. You will never change them as long as you are continuing to pay them – they have no reason to change what they write.
    If you had been brave enough to stand up to your principles you others might have followed your lead but you chickened out.
    I’m very disappointed that you think what you have done is enough.

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  41. A good start. I hope the Member’s Council monitors this closely by continuing to communicate with members and receive regular reports from the Executive.

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  42. The Co-Op is an ethical store and the reason I shop there. Stocking newspapers that inspire hate and division on our society is not ethical. I have stopped shopping at the Co-Op for this reason. Please address situation and I will be back.

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  43. The coop sells cigarettes and alcohol and some members are worried about a couple of news papers we sell to members daily because they don’t like some of their comments. We sell death to members is that sitting pretty with these with these members.

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  44. A good reason for advertising in the newspapers like the Daily Mail, The Sun and others with a right wing tabloid mentality is to break into the echo chamber that their readers would otherwise be cocooned in.

    Espousing Co-op values, our initiative on modern slavery, our support for EU nationals working in UK, Fairtrade and other ways we’re building a “better way of doing business for our communities” through adverts would be justified.

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  45. I think the only reason for advertising in the newspapers like the Daily Mail, The Sun and others with a right wing tabloid mentality is to break into the echo chamber that their readers would otherwise be cocooned in. Advertising espousing Co-op values, our initiative on modern slavery, our support for EU nationals working in UK, Fairtrade and other ways we’re building a “better way of doing business for our communities” would be justified but I’m not sure “10p off your next 100% British Cheese and Onion pasty” would be unless we’re on a very long term mission to reduce the lifespans of uneducated bigots.

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  46. Sad that you have not addressed the issue. To stop advertising on YouTube when others have led the way is no big deal but where you could have taken a lead and pulled advertising from the Mail, Express & Sun you have refused to do so because profit matters more. You wonder about the impact ? The impact is that you continue to pay those newspapers to spew their hate. The other impact is that you are likely to lose custom until you #StopFundingHate !

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  47. A well-considered response by Members’ Council. As Debbie Williams says, it is crucial that discussions with the Daily Mail, the Sun and similar media businesses, whose propaganda is inimical to co-operative values and principles, are transparent. Members need to know what our co-operative is saying to them, what their responses are and whether any progress is being made. In addition we should be told, in broad terms, how much of our money is being spent on advertising in these publications. And as well as using its advertising budget to influence media outlets we disagree with, the Group should deploy that purchasing power explicitly to support media that are more in tune with our values and principles such as the Mirror, the Big Issue, the Guardian and the Morning Star.

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  48. I PERSONALY DO NOT AGREE THAT THE COOPERATIVE GROUP SHOULD PAY FOR ADVERTISING WITH MEDIA OUTLETS THAT ARE BASICLY NOT IN TUNE WITH COOPERATIVE VALUES AND PRINCIPLES

    On Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 10:04 AM, The Co-op Blogs wrote:

    > Co-op posted: “For any business rebuilding itself and looking to grow in > very competitive markets, using advertising to attract new customers is > really important. But some Co-op members are concerned about where our > brand is advertised. They’ve asked us to think careful” >

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  49. This response makes me proud to work for the Co-op. I have been concerned by the fact we advertise in papers that publish messages which don’t sit well with our values and principles, but as a Store Manager, realise that these papers are bought by our Memvers and customers and it is important to have the freedom to express different views in a democracy, even if they are not our own. We sit in a difficult position but I fully support the belief that it is better to tackle these issues and have a voice than to walk away.
    Hopefully the outcome of talks will be transparent and will help put forward our concerns.
    Thank you for tackling this in an open way Co-op.

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  50. Excellent response. It is important we stick to our values and principles as a Co-operative Society, but we still need to advertise in places our millions of members and others see.
    Members I hope be reassured by how seriously and carefully this topic has been dealt with.

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    • I’m a member and I don’t think advertising in newspapers that are derogatory about certain members of our society is compatible with our values. There is a line that the Coop won’t cross when advertising. It is in the wrong place today when money is spent with those publications who invoke hatred of those who may well be our partners and clients. Free speech is the wrong argument. It should be about respect. You don’t respect bullies in the workplace so why fund them in the press? Or is the motive profit above values?

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#TheCoopWay, Co-op Leaders' Blogs, Nick's Blog, Our democracy