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The Advertising Communications Building

Cotton Advertising Overview

The Cotton Research and Promotion program was established during the mid 1960s by cotton producers as a response to a steady decline in market share to synthetic fibers. The program led to the establishment of Cotton Incorporated in 1970. Since then cotton has succeeded in rebuilding market share largely with a consistent investment in consumer advertising. The centerpiece of the advertising campaign has been cotton's television commercials.

During the 1970s the television advertising was designed to convince textile manufacturers to make their products from cotton. Manufacturers were offered the opportunity to feature their products in cotton's first advertising campaign: "Cotton, A Natural Wonder." Manufacturers like Levi's, and Farah were featured in the ads, which presented the core benefits of cotton to the consumer: easy-care, comfort and natural breathability.

Once consumer demand started to rebound, the next challenge for cotton was to make products made from cotton more easily identifiable. Cotton's valuable brand asset, The Seal of Cotton, was born in 1973. The Seal was licensed to products containing cotton and consumers were encouraged through new television commercials to look for the Seal when shopping. The Seal of Cotton became, and still is today, one of the core components of all cotton advertising, as well as an identifying symbol of the company, itself.

Throughout the 1980s consumer demand for cotton products continued to rise. Cotton Incorporated continued to promote cotton products as easy to care for, and reminded consumers to look for authentic denim made from 100% cotton. The next challenge for the cotton industry to was to reinforce the relationship that consumers had come to build with cotton goods. A campaign was designed to show consumers how cotton has become the fabric of choice for people at all of life's stages, from the comfortable blanket an infant is wrapped in, to a teenager's prom dress, to an older gentleman's golf apparel, cotton surrounds our lives. In 1989 "The Fabric of Our Lives®" campaign was born. The campaign provided cotton with its other important brand assets moving forward, "The Fabric of Our Lives®" tagline and jingle. These are the elements that made cotton's advertising famous. Everyone remembers "The Fabric of Our Lives" jingle as performed by Richie Havens and then Aaron Neville.

Cotton Incorporated advertising has evolved over the years based on the current retail environment and needs of the marketplace. In recent years, the company has made efforts to reinforce in the minds of women that cotton isn't only foundation pieces, like jeans and sweats, but also available in fashionable garments for occasions. In 2009 cotton reintroduced "The Fabric of Our Lives®" campaign with young fashionable celebrities.

The initial television spots featured singer/actress Zooey Deschanel, as well as vocalists Miranda Lambert and Jazmine Sullivan. Each celebrity was depicted in scenes from their own lives, dressed in fashionable cotton garments meant to reflect their personal style. Each artist also reinterpreted the "Fabric of Our LivesĀ®" music and lyrics in their own, individual style. In this way the campaign demonstrated how easily cotton fits into the lives of the celebrity vocalists and, by extension, to everyone. Since the campaign launched in 2009 new commercials have been added featuring a variety of stylish young celebrities including Kate Bosworth, Emmy Rossum and Hayden Panettiere.

Throughout the years Cotton Incorporated has complemented its television advertising program with other media. Currently the company utilizes fully integrated advertising programs consisting of both traditional and digital components. Cotton creates custom content for multiple blogs and also maintains direct communications with consumers via social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.