NEW YORK — Tonight, Cotton Incorporated bids farewell to “The Fabric of Our Lives,” which has been the tag line for its consumer advertising for 14 years.
On Tuesday, executives from Cotton Inc. and its new ad agency, DDB Worldwide Communications Group Inc., unveiled the company’s new campaign. Rather than carrying a unifying tag line, each of the seven initial spots has a special sign-off, intended to evoke a different aspect of the fiber.
“Cotton means different things to different people and we wanted to try to capture that,” said J. Berrye Worsham 3d, president and chief executive of Cary, N.C.-based Cotton Inc.
For instance, one spot shows a young woman recovering from a series of depressing blows — from being dumped by a boyfriend to losing a promotion at work — by shopping, and closes with “The healing power of cotton.”
Another spot features a Jack Russell terrier scurrying around a house, finding pieces of clothing and piling them in the middle of the living room. The ad ends with the dog asleep on his pile and features the tag line “Soft. Comfortable. Easy to clean.”
The ads, mostly 30-second spots, will run on broadcast and cable stations — including WB, Fox, Lifetime, the Turner networks, VH1, TLC, E and Bravo — beginning this evening.
Worsham said the company had concluded that it didn’t need to focus on older consumers, who already demonstrated strong loyalty to cotton. Rather, he continued, “It was the young women that we need to reach.” The ads target women 21 to 34 years old.
Lee Garfinkel, chairman and chief creative officer at DDB, said younger women don’t have the “fear of other fabrics” that some of their elders internalized after switching from leisure suits to cotton clothes.
“A lot of the younger women today, if it looks good, they don’t care what it’s made of,” he said. “It can be cotton or it can be tinfoil.”
A need to zero in on a tighter consumer demographic and to reinforce the many qualities of cotton led the fiber-promotions organization last year to drop Ogilvy & Mather New York, which had handled its account for three decades.
Worsham added that focusing on a narrow band of customers seemed to be the most efficient use of the company’s $20 million advertising budget. Advertising represents a major part of Cotton Inc.’s outlay — last year it accounted for 39.9 percent of its overall spending.
Cotton Inc.’s operating budget is derived by a surcharge paid by domestic cotton growers and by companies that import cotton products. The fee is collected by the U.S. government under a Department of Agriculture-sponsored program.
Worsham noted that Cotton Inc. has run no TV ads since the beginning of the year, which will allow it to run more frequent spots in the remaining eight-and-a-half months.
In addition, he said Cotton Inc. decided to discontinue its gala holiday party at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The event, which drew a crowd of several hundred textile, apparel and retail executives, had been held annually since the late Eighties, but was canceled in 2001 after the terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center, and again in 2003. Worsham said the company decided the budget would be better spent on other marketing efforts.