Well done Co-op!

The Co-operative has issued a deadline to the publishers of lads’ magazines to cover up sexualised images of women on the covers of titles such as Loaded and Nuts. This move to force men’s magazines to offer more modest covers or face the threat of being delisted has been welcomed on many fronts (no pun intended).

The retailer said the decision was a response to customer concerns over children’s exposure to the images. On Radio 4’s Today show, Co-op policy manager Cathryn Higgs said: ‘I’ve every hope they will take what we believe is the responsible approach and put them in a bag.’

Of course, this follows David Cameron’s well publicised policy to stop porn on tap through the internet, which received much public support. Needless to say, Co-op’s rating on the moral and ethics metre has gone through the roof these past few weeks.

Consumer campaigns like this have a real impact on the behaviour of brands and guides them into making informed decisions. The Co-op has told its family audience that it will listen to them above the publishers – and that’s a strong message to send. The Co-op trades on its ethical image, and this puts that core value front and centre.

Whilst the blacked-out wraps over the magazines arguably almost lead to more curiosity, this has been a positive move by the Co-op at a time when the representation of women in the media is in the spotlight more than ever. It was a good week to make this announcement, particularly following the scandalous abuse Caroline Criado-Perez received on Twitter following her successful campaign to have Jane Austen on the new ten pound note.

The devil will be in the long-term detail, but as a short-term PR win, it’s a hit.

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