Since 1971, Cotton Incorporated has been very successful connecting cotton, as a brand, to consumers. After polyester made its appearance via leisure suits, bolstered by John Travolta and his cotton-cramping “Saturday Night Fever” box office hit, it took more than 10 years before cotton’s market share needle started trending vertically.
In the early days of the Cotton Research and Promotion Program, a change in U.S. consumer consciousness about apparel purchases was needed. Thanks to a new concept recognized by then Cotton Incorporated CEO Dukes Wooters, that change would soon begin.
Wooters envisioned a concept that positioned and coupled U.S. cotton farmers to the millions of U.S. consumers tied together through the mills, manufacturers and retailers who provided the apparel and home products for consumer purchase.
“Dukes sought to bring a type of ownership of the market by helping cotton manage the entire chain of relationships within it,” says J. Berrye Worsham, president and chief executive officer of Cotton Incorporated.
Three elements were critical to accomplish this goal: Research, development and promotion.
With the launch of the first “Fabric of Our Lives” network television advertising campaign in 1989, Cotton Incorporated began a promotion that was hailed as one of the most iconic campaigns of all time. Not only has it been central to cotton’s overall market share resurrection, it continues to endear a new generation to one of the world’s most natural fibers.
The New Campaign
Always staying in touch with shifts in consumer trends, Cotton Incorporated’s advertising professionals recognized a unique opportunity to capitalize on the high recognition level of the campaign’s history, while employing a new twist that would hopefully attract their target audience – women ages 18 to 34. The iconic tag line was slightly altered to “The Fabric of My Life.” This change personalized the theme song with the talent, and while keeping in mind the demographic toward whom their campaigns are directed, three young singers were allowed to tender their interpretation of the song in 2009.
Miranda Lambert, Zooey Deschanel and Jazimine Sullivan, three singers with distinctly different vocal and fashion styles, were selected to try and capture the attention of young female consumers for cotton’s sake. A year later, vocalists Colbie Caillat and Leona Lewis were chosen to offer their unique version of the theme song, and fashion icon Kate Bosworth was brought on board in the third year.
Special Approach Showcased
The most recent campaign celebrates American looks with Emmy Rossum showcasing New York style, and Camilla Belle showcasing styles from Los Angeles. These two cities are fashion capitals of the United States and influence style everywhere.
“I encourage anyone in our industry to take the time to look at these two commercials and the cotton fashions being shown by these two talented ladies,” concludes Worsham.
There is also a special element included in the current campaign which allows consumers to log on to www.TheFabricOfOurLives.com and take a virtual tour of Emmy Rossum’s digital closet. There, they can find cotton apparel that fits their budgets and then will be guided to retail Web sites for purchases.
It is a very creative and direct way to move real cotton apparel across virtual store shelves. And for cotton farmers, that’s the bottom line. The new commercials may also be viewed at www.TheFabricOfOurLives.com.
The Cotton Board, which administers Cotton Incorporated’s Research and Promotion Program, contributed information for this report.