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Woolmark Rolling Out New Campaign

The multimillion-dollar marketing effort kicks off in the fourth quarter.

An ad from Woolmark Co.'s campaign "Tested by Nature, Tested by Us."

The Woolmark Co. is set to unveil a washable wool campaign, called “Tested by Nature, Tested by Us,” meant to freshen up the image of the fabric.

This story first appeared in the September 10, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The underlying message of the three-year campaign is that, contrary to some popular beliefs, wool can be an easy-care material.

Woolmark said it’s actively engaging with its brand partners to add washable wool to their garment ranges. As customers seek more wool specified to “machine wash” or “machine wash and tumble dry” standards, so, too, will the amount processors will be called upon to supply.

The three-year campaign will also help align consumer perceptions to the modern wool garments available, and as consumers are educated about wool’s easy-care properties, appeal at point of sale is set to increase. Woolmark-certified wool labeled as “machine wash” or “machine wash and tumble dry” is treated to prevent shrinkage, and has gone through rigorous testing to make sure it’s safe to machine wash and won’t felt, stain or fade.

“This campaign is about stopping consumers associating wool with hand-wash or dry-clean and emphasizes the washability aspects of wool,” said Cathryn Lee, Woolmark category manager for its Apparel Care Group. “All products must be tested and comply with the strict Woolmark Specifications, which will give customers assurance of quality and peace of mind.”

Rob Langtry, chief strategy and marketing officer at Woolmark, said, “In the initial trade launch phase, the campaign focuses on building trade awareness of and confidence in washable wool, and encourages them to ensure they have products available in this existing technology. In the broader consumer stage, which will run for several years, it is about addressing the consumer misconception that wool is ‘difficult to care for’ by assuring them that a Woolmark garment label, and the corresponding cycle on a washing machine, means wool is easier to care for and more convenient than they think.”

Langtry said the multimedia campaign will make extensive use of digital channels, as well as public relations and event-based activity.

“It uses some traditional advertising, but seeks to bring the imagery to life through video played on digital media, our AWI/Woolmark Web sites and those of our apparel and apparel care licensees and partners,” he said.

The Woolmark brand is owned by Australian Wool Innovation, or AWI, a not-for-profit company owned by more than 25,000 wool growers. AWI works throughout the supply chain to promote wool products. AWI will invest several million dollars directly in the campaign over the next three years, Langtry noted, with funds supplemented by collaborative activity with apparel, washing machine and drier manufacturers, and detergent and fabric softener manufacturers. There will be a soft launch to the trade in the last quarter of this year, Langtry added, with discussions to progress with key partners over a 12-month period before the campaign moves into consumer communication.