Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Co-operative Group - lobby on NOTW

UPDATE: The Co-Op Group have reversed their decision, and decided to suspend advertising with the NOTW. Their statement is:

"The Co-operative Group has taken the decision to suspend temporarily any further advertising and promotional activity with the News of the World until the outcome of the investigation is known.
The Group is a consumer-owned business which adheres to strong ethical standards. These allegations have been met with revulsion by the vast majority of members who have contacted us."

It's great that they have buckled, and well done to everyone who has taken the time to ring, email or post on Facebook and Twitter. I am disappointed though that they've only acted because they've been deluged with pissed-off members and customers, who have obviously acted as the conscience that the Group doesn't appear to have. The original decision to continue to advertise was ethically appalling, and the public relations equivalent of shitting in your own hat and putting it on - if an 'ethical' company like the Co-Op has to rely on reacting to customer fury over an issue like this, there's something deeply wrong with its decision-making process. I hope they do something to address this.

Original post follows. Contact details now removed.

We bank with the Co-operative Bank (well, their internet arm, Smile). Like many of their customers, we chose to do that because of the bank's ethical policy, which is derived from the ethical policy of the parent Co-Op Group.

The Co-Op Group (which covers everything, banking, supermarkets, funerals) has today announced its stand on its approach to advertising in the News of the World. Ford, NPower, Halifax, T-Mobile and others have all announced that they are at least reconsidering their ad spend with the NOTW.

Some things to think about here.

News International has admitted phone-hacking in previous cases.

News International has, to the best of my knowledge, failed to deny the most recent allegation, about Milly Dowler.

There is clear evidence not just of unethical behaviour, but criminal behaviour on the part of the NOTW.

NI has lied repeatedly about the extent of phone-hacking, only later to have to admit that each fresh allegation is true.

The Chair of the Press Complaints Commission today stated that the NOTW lied to the PCC.

The former editor of the NOTW and current UK Chief Exec of News International, has told a Select Committee that the paper has in the past paid police officers for information.

And now, the private investigator who hacked into Milly Dowler's voicemail, has released a statement in which he made no denial of the allegation, but instead clearly stated that his work was at the request of NOTW journalists.

All of which makes the Co-Op's innocent-until-proven-guilty stance look like the mealy-mouthed prevarication it is.

[contact details removed]

If you use any of the Co-Op's services, why not give them a call or write them an email and tell them - politely, but firmly - how you feel about their much-vaunted ethical policy in the light of their continued enthusiasm to pay money to a newspaper which has ALREADY admitted criminal behaviour, and which on a day to day basis is exposed as have committed more, worse each time. If you have a bank account, like we do, tell them that you plan to close it. If you shop there, tell them you plan to take your business elsewhere.

You can also post on their Facebook wall, or message them on Twitter, but I think it's better to hold senior staff of the organisation to account. If anyone has any other contact details, please let me know and I will add them to this. If the Co-Op changes its stance, I'll remove them all.


  1. Here's a handy list of many of the advertisers, in ready made Tweet form:

  2. Thanks James, that's handy indeed.

  3. Hey anon, thanks for that, sounds intriguing - but I'm not too comfortable about having anonymous comments - that I can't really substantiate - on potentially identifiable individuals on the blog, given that it's got my name at the top. Sorry.

  4. I bank (smile), shop, have insurance and have a visa card with the Coop. If they do not change their stance tomorrow, Wednesday, I am switching all the above to more honestly hypocritical companies.

  5. My position too, Ian.

    I think they will cave on this, though.

  6. They have now suspended their advertising:

  7. Good stuff; although like you say, shame it had to be forced on them.