For the first time in its 26-year history, the promotional trade group for cotton growers will shift part of its U.S. ad budget to outof-home. Its current TV campaign will extend to billboards, phone booths and shopping malls in September.
With a $22 million annual budget, the group will take about $2 million from its previous $19 million TV allocation for the outdoor ads. About $3 million goes to magazines.
Ogilvy & Mather, New York, is the agency.
COLLEGES AND MALLS
The fall effort will kick off on 200 college campuses, followed by ads in New York to reach those attending November fashion shows. A final push in 50 shopping malls will begin after Thanksgiving, targeted to holiday shoppers.
Cotton Inc. is heading to campuses and shopping malls because it wants to target younger consumers, said Ric Hendee, VP-marketing services. The ads will appear as posters and postcards in student buildings and at nearby retailers, such as record stores and bookstores.
"We want cotton to be top-of-mind with kids," Mr. Hendee said. "They wear jeans, but they're not aware they're cotton. They are not fabric-aware."
Generation Y is a ripe target because it likes natural fibers in general, he said, though they're largely unaware of fabrics when they shop.
The trade group's research indicates 43% of 16- to 24-year-old consumers are aware of what a garment is made of when they buy it, compared to 54% of 25- to 34-year-olds and 63% of people aged 35 to 55.
LYCRA GOT BOOST, TOO
Du Pont Co. launched a similar effort for its Lycra fabric this month, a global push to position Lycra as the ingredient that makes clothes look and feel better.
That $40 million campaign, from Saatchi & Saatchi, Rochester, N.Y., is Lycra's first teen-targeted effort (AA, March 1).
Outdoor is a more efficient way to target audiences, said Cotton Inc.'s Mr. Hendee.
Its campaign will continue the cotton board's 10-year-old tagline and borrow its look from the creative that broke last August. That effort features TV and print ads with celebrities such as Ivana Trump, Daisy Fuentes and boxer Evander Holyfield; the celebrities for fall haven't yet been signed.
NO USDA PROBLEMS
The cotton board is one of several trade promotion groups supervised by an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Last fall, the agency initiated a review of management practices.
Cotton Inc. has not been audited, but the USDA has reviewed and approved its 1999 budget, Mr. Hendee said.
"They don't seem to have a concern about the effectiveness of our program," he said, noting that cotton has grown from about 40% of the U.S. textile market in