A comfortable pair of jeans that makes you feel confident. A shirt filled with sentiment and inspiration. A trench that travels everywhere you do. What makes any piece of clothing a “favorite?” Earlier this year, Cotton Incorporated decided to see what these reasons were in its new advertising campaign “Cotton. It’s Your Favorite For A Reason℠” The campaign, which focuses on cotton’s style and substance, shied away from the celeb-centric TV commercials that had reintroduced a new generation to the “The touch, the feel…” jingle. Rather, it uses real people in real life situations discussing their favorite items of clothing in the television commercials and online videos. Consumers are meant to connect to the subjects in the commercials, relating to their feelings and experiences. To go along with the commercials, Cotton also decided to execute a more omnichannel approach to getting the word out, incorporating a much broader digital program to target a whole new audience.
According to Cotton Incorporated’s Lifestyle Monitor™ survey, 41 percent of consumers say they go online to browse because they “just like to browse for clothes online,” followed by 29 percent who have a need to purchase new clothes, those who research before purchasing in-store (27 percent), and those who received an email from a brand or retailer about a new style or sale (25 percent). Another 14 percent of consumers browse for clothing online after hearing a commercial, and 9 percent head online after they see or read something on social media.
The search for cotton clothing became easier with the 2014 redesign of Cotton Incorporated’s consumer-facing website, TheFabricOfOurLives.com. This was an important step in reaching these online consumers when the new campaign launched, providing plenty of cotton inspiration all in one place. The addition of the Shop Cotton section not only allows consumers to shop the looks found in the new commercials, but also allows them to browse collections of cotton-rich clothing from a range of designers at various price points. The shops and collections are updated monthly, focusing on certain trends (Made in America), seasons (Summer Scarves), events (Memorial Day Getaway), and even “Favorites through the Ages,” which shows modern takes on vintage finds. The subjects featured in the new commercials also each have their own curated collection on the website, showcasing designs inspired by their individual favorite pieces.
Cotton Incorporated also wanted the website to become more of a destination – a place where consumers would continue to visit, returning to read a new blog post or find inspiration for a new outfit. The “Shop Cotton” section not only features women’s fashion, but also items for men, kids and the home — categories that had not been touched on in previous campaigns. About 8 in 10 consumers say cotton is their fiber of choice for their own clothing (81 percent), their kids’ clothing (86 percent), and their home products, such as sheets (81 percent) and towels (90 percent).
Recently, Cotton Incorporated launched a new digital series, “Favorites Remixed,” which enlists Hearst editors to dispense style advice for their favorite cotton pieces. The videos can be found on Hearst digital properties, but also live on TheFabricOfOurLives.com with their own shopping sections. In covering many trends and categories, the cotton shops on the site are designed to show consumers how seamlessly cotton can fit into their daily lives.
“I move a lot, so I need something breathable.” “This is perfect because it feels natural.” “I’ve noticed that the more cotton that is in the jeans, the longer they’ll last.”
The campaign not only wanted to show how stylish cotton can be, but also wanted to convey its many benefits. Cotton Incorporated knows that consumers want pieces that are cotton, according to Lifestyle Monitor™ data – 69 percent of consumers say their favorite piece of clothing is at least 60 percent cotton. However, this doesn’t mean they are necessarily checking the label for fiber content when purchasing new items. Many man-made fibers are now looking and feeling like cotton due to new technological advances, but this doesn’t mean that they will perform the same way. The majority of consumers (52 percent) are dissatisfied with fiber substitutes for cotton, as well as with the performance of the clothing— especially over time. The only way to combat this is for consumers to check to the label to see if the item is cotton-rich before purchasing it.
The benefits of cotton are woven into the commercials and videos as the subjects all discuss why exactly a particular piece is the favorite. The reasons range from durability and comfort to breathability and versatility. The commercials also issue a call to action, telling consumers to “Check the Label” and asking them to find out more on TheFabricOfOurLives.com. These benefits are explained in detail on the site, giving consumers an opportunity to learn about why cotton should be their fiber of choice.
Speaking about the benefits of cotton is another way that the campaign is catering to the Millennial consumer. More so than Gen X and Boomer consumers, Millennials (57 percent compared to 35 and 42 percent, respectively) say they would be more loyal to brands and retailers who educate them on the products, according to the to Lifestyle MonitorTM survey. They crave authenticity and have a quest for knowledge—they’re looking to consume this information.
Rue La La
In May of 2015, online shopping destination Rue La La announced a partnership with Cotton Incorporated in order to support the “Cotton. It’s Your Favorite For A Reason℠” campaign. The partnership with Cotton is the first of its kind for Rue La La. It includes four “cotton takeovers” on RueLaLa.com, showcasing cotton boutiques for women, men, children and home as well as highlighting digital videos from the campaign and sharing facts about and benefits of cotton. The initiative is supported through social media, dedicated emails to Rue La La’s Member base, and cotton- specific packaging that highlights certain benefits. The packaging for the takeovers also uses the Seal of Cotton, which is recognized by more than 8 in 10 consumers.
When the partnership was first announced, Robin Domeniconi, Rue La La’s Chief Marketing Officer, noted in the press release that “…whenever we think of cotton, we think of our favorite worn-in tees or a pair of perfectly fitting jeans—all things that inspire confidence. Every day at Rue La La, we encourage our Members to be confident in their personal style and be inspired by the new stores every day… Cotton is such a classic and versatile fabric, and we’re excited to share the reasons why we love it and the different ways in which cotton can be incorporated into our Members’ wardrobes and homes.”
A 12-piece bespoke collection was also designed exclusively for the partnership, featuring custom jeans, dresses, scarves and even jewelry from designers Nanette Lepore, Hudson Jeans and Tamika Rivera. Cotton Incorporated’s partnership with Rue La La has been a wonderful way to show consumers just how easily cotton can fit into their daily lives, and the experience encourages them to find new cotton favorites from designers they know and love.
In July, it was announced that model-actress Molly Sims would be the spokesperson for the remaining takeovers until November 2015, helping to tell the Cotton Incorporated and Rue La La story, as well as offering cotton styling tips and inspiration. The takeovers incorporate curated selections of “Molly Approved” cotton fashion and home items.
Looking for A New Favorite
Almost 3 in 10 consumers (29 percent) say jeans are their favorite piece of apparel, followed by tees (15 percent), active bottoms (9 percent), and casual pants (8 percent), according to the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™ survey. When asked why it was their favorite, almost 8 in 10 (78 percent) cited comfort as the reason, followed by fit (62 percent), making them look or feel good (46 percent), and softness (45 percent). Cotton Incorporated’s new campaign was inspired by these findings and others like them. The company conducted extensive consumer research to see what consumers really wanted, and more often than not the results connected back to consumers wanting what cotton can offer. The campaign allows consumers a chance to appreciate their cotton favorites even more, giving them an opportunity to understand the benefits of the items already in their closet and giving them a chance to find and discover new favorites
Visit TheFabricOfOurLives.com to learn more.