Swedish supermarket chain Coop has won a prestigious prize for its advertising campaign about the benefits of eating organic food.
The retailer – part of the Swedish Cooperative Union (KF Group) – scooped the award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
The Public Relations Grand Prix was awarded to Swedish ad agency Forsman & Bodenfors who created The Organic Effect video for Coop. The campaign centres around the Palmberg family and the effect it has on your body to switch from conventional to organic food.
Coop has been a strong supporter of organic food since the 1980s, encouraging shoppers to choose organically produced products. Inspired by studies which suggest eating non-organic food leaves pesticides in the body, the family were tested for 12 pesticides after one week of eating conventional food, and then again after two weeks of organic food.
After the first week, eight of the 12 pesticides were found in their bodies, but that number considerably dropped after the two weeks of organic eating.
The campaign has attracted controversy with the enterprise facing lawsuits for misleading advertising. Critics say the test failed to take into account pesticides which are used on organic produce, and instead only searched for ones associated with non-organic food. As a result, it is no surprise that those pesticides weren’t found after two weeks eating organic.
But the PR jury chairman John Clinton, chair of Edelman Canada, said the campaign won “for the combination of the freshness of the idea, the difficulty of discussing the topic, and the results it achieved in the marketplace.”
Coop is part of KF Group, a federation of 41 consumer co-operatives in Sweden, and runs various chains such as Coop Forum, Coop Extra and Coop Konsum, as well as the Daglivs store and internet-based Cooponline.se. Altogether it accounts for 21.5% of the grocery retail market in Sweden.
Coop has the largest amount of organic and eco-friendly products in Sweden. In its recent annual survey, strategy consultants Differ ranked Coop’s organic brand Anglamark as Sweden’s number one greenest brand. Anglamark has existed for 25 years and currently has around 400 products.