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9 July 2019

The food of love

by Alice May

Co-op Supermarkets: “Strawberries” - 30s

This spot for strawberries in the Co-op's 'It's what we do' campaign seems to have opened a can of worms... or at least, sparked a lively debate.

The young woman sitting at her make-up table explaining why she likes this particular soft fruit turns out to be trans - at which point the VO explains that with each purchase we make, a percentage of the profit goes towards local causes. In this case, it's the Liverpool City Region Pride Foundation.

The campaign concept provides a neat way to suggest the supermarket's reputation for commitment to the community. However, for every voice expressing approval for the ad, there's another expressing an equal degree of annoyance.

Pinknews.co.uk reported on the wide range of reactions it's provoked on Mumsnet, for instance, which vary from those who feel trans women's rights are usurping the rights of biologically-born females, to those who feel patronised that "glitter = female", to those who believe the Co-op's support is designed to "help us all love each other".

The glitter referred to is in the small bottle the woman unscrews as she talks; instead of seeing how she intends to use it, it becomes nothing more than a vehicle for a shot transition to tumbling strawberries. This in itself is fine, but for those who have a deeper investment in the ad's significance it can seem like glib shorthand for girliness.

But whichever way you look at it, this commercial adds to the conversation. Surely it's better to discuss topics such as gender identity, which for some are still controversial, in order to articulate beliefs held on either side? Only in doing so can we dismantle our fear of the unknown and find a common language that unites us all.

Creative Agency: Lucky Generals Ⓟ Ⓦ
ECD: Danny Brooke-Taylor
Creative Director: Kate Murphy
Creative: Serhan Asim / Jack Willoughby
TV Producer: Alaina Olsen
Film Production: Merman Ⓟ Ⓦ
Director: M J Delaney ♀ Ⓟ Ⓦ
Producer: Lucy Tate
Production M'ger: Clara Bennett
Production Ass'nt: Rhian Gwenlan
Executive Producer: Siobhan Murphy / Dan Dickenson
Cinematographer: Vanessa Whyte Ⓦ (WPA Ⓟ Ⓦ)
Production Designer: Soraya Gilanni
Stylist: PC Williams
Make-Up: Claire Carter
Editor: Rebecca Luff ♀ Ⓟ Ⓦ (Cut+Run Ⓟ Ⓦ) @ tenthree Ⓟ Ⓦ
Post Production: The Mill Ⓟ Ⓦ
Colourist: Seamus O'Kane
Sound Designer: James Cobbold Ⓦ @ 750MPH Ⓟ Ⓦ

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