Work Had Been With Ogilvy & Mather for 31 Years

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Cotton Inc. has awarded its $22 million to $25 million account to Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide. The account had been with WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, New York, for the past 31 years.

New York-based contenders
DDB beat out competition from a number

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New York-based agencies including Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe and Publicis Groupe's Publicis Worldwide, New York. Other contenders earlier in the review included Publicis' Fallon and Bartle Bogle Hegarty; Havas' Arnold Worldwide and Interpublic's Deutsch.

Select Resources International, West Hollywood, Calif., conducted the review. WPP's MindShare retains media planning and buying services.

A spokeswoman for Oglivy said, "We are very proud of our legacy of award winning work in building the Cotton brand and wish them all the best."

Since its establishment in 1970, Cotton Inc., a trade group overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and funded by cotton growers, developed its "Seal of Cotton" logo as well as its longtime slogan, "The fabric of our lives."

Increasing challenges
Cotton growers and manufactures face challenges beyond battling boll weevils. When the review was launched, Ric Hendee, vice president of marketing services at Cotton Inc., said consumers are increasingly apathetic about buying apparel, and about the fashion industry in general, and that new synthetic performance fabrics have begun mimicking cotton, making it harder to maintain market share.

Cotton Inc. President-CEO Berrye Worsham told AdAge.com today the reasons for the split with Ogilvy "came down to the issue of needing to do a better job of targeting a younger audience. We felt we needed a new fresh look."

New campaign
Mr. Hendee said campaigns targeting women ages 18 to 34 will bow in April 2004. Mr. Hendee said the media mix and creative concepts were still being discussed. While the creative team may brainstorm for new taglines, Mr. Hendee said the Cotton logo would remain. The $20 million media budget for 2004 is on a par with what the company spent last year, Mr. Hendee said.

The cotton industry also faces trade issues from Brazil and other nations participating in the World Trade Organization that begun to question U.S. subsidies of cotton growers and those who purchase cotton from them.

When asked whether Cotton Inc. would be looking to hire a public relations or public affairs agency to help combat negative press attention on the subject of U.S. subsidies, Mr. Worsham said: "No not at all. Our charge here is to promote cotton and to create demand for the products. We don't get involved in political issues or in lobbying issues."

Separate review
Separately, Cotton Inc. is still talking to agencies about an Internet marketing offensive to promote a new Cotton Inc. Web site, www.thejoyofshopping.com, which will launch early in 2004. The site allows consumers to pick cotton products in any number of categories from apparel to furnishings. Mr. Hendee said consumers would be able to pick from, for example, 416 types of Capri pants displayed by price. He declined to name agencies involved in this pitch.

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Alice Z. Cuneo contributed to this report.

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