Cotton Makes Its Way Into Reality-TV World

Industry Trade Group Will Sponsor Web Series Following Aspiring Designers

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Cotton can be fashionable.

That's the message Cotton Inc., an industry trade group, is hoping to get across to women age 18 to 34 with the launch of "Inseam," a web series. The show, produced by Co.Op TV and Broadband Enterprises, is Cotton Inc.'s first foray into digital entertainment.

20 episodes
Over the course of 20 episodes, the show will follow three designers as they conceive and produce clothing collections. The designers are not required to use cotton, but cotton will be worked into the series in a way that makes sense, said executives. Style guru Eric Villency selected the designers and will host the episodes, which run about five minutes each. The series is not styled as a competition, counter to many of the reality-based design shows in the market today.

"It's more about launching three designers than it is cutting anyone out," said Doug Bandes, VP-sales at Broadband Enterprises. "It's about enabling designers to really get their designs and art out there to the public eye."

The concept appealed to Cotton Inc., which has already been aggressive in its pursuit of fashion-savvy females. The trade group has worked with series including "Project Runway" and "What Not to Wear."

"Our research shows that women 35 to 54 are already filling their homes and closets with cotton," said Glenn Sciachitano, director-advertising at Cotton Inc. "We want younger women to think about cotton too. ... Essentially, we want them to think of cotton not just as foundation pieces and basics but also as a fashion-forward fabric."

A new way to reach
The group was looking for new ways to reach that target, Mr. Sciachitano said, and a branded-entertainment platform was compelling. Cotton Inc. is the sole sponsor of the series.

"TV has always been a very successful medium for cotton since our inception. But it has become more challenging to engage users with traditional advertising," he said. "We're always looking for innovative mediums to communicate our message and this provided that. Not only does it give us the opportunity to infuse our message into the fabric of the content, but we can showcase traditional spots, banner ads and our website."

WPP Group's MindShare, the media agency working on the project, said Cotton Inc. can expect about 2.5 million viewers, Mr. Sciachitano said. That would be a boon for the group, as there are few consumers not aware of cotton. The group says that 85% of its target audience recognizes the "Seal of Cotton," while 55% are aware of its advertising. Cotton (the fabric) also controls the market, with 64% of apparel made of cotton or using it in some way.

Cotton Inc. spent $29 million on measured media in 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence. "Inseam" carries a price tag of about $750,000, Mr. Sciachitano said.

The show will debut Oct. 1 on Broadband Enterprises' network and at InseamShow.com. There will also be targeted distribution to video environments on fashion and women's lifestyle sites, said Mr. Bandes. Promotional efforts behind the series include seeding through online publicity firms such as M80, digital advertising and public relations efforts.

To measure the show's success, Mr. Sciachitano said the group will be monitoring the number of viewers clicking through, as well as the amount of time spent watching each episode. Cotton Inc. will also measure impressions of its 15-second pre-roll spots, along with click-through rates on banner ads surrounding "Inseam."

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