When consumers talk about their favorite things to wear, they mention comfort, fit, and how the item makes them feel good. And more often than not, their favorite clothes are made of cotton. The research that revealed these preferences has led to the fabric’s latest ad campaign, “Cotton. It’s Your Favorite for a Reason.SM

"For instance, denim is of course cotton but few consumers think of that fact…or credit cotton for it. Until now."

-Ric Hendee,
Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing for Cotton Incorporated

Almost 3 in 10 consumers (29%) say jeans are their favorite piece of apparel, followed by tees (15%), active bottoms (9%), and casual pants (8%), according to the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle MonitorTM Survey. When asked why it was their favorite, almost 1 in 2 consumers (47%) cited comfort as the reason, followed by the fit (19%), and that the item makes them look or feel good (14%).

It was these types of statistics that helped shape the new ads. Ric Hendee, senior vice president, consumer marketing for Cotton Incorporated, says the “Favorite for a Reason” campaign will let real people tell compelling personal stories concerning their favorite garments both in the ads, as well as online.

“We will use these stories, these people, to help us build out a web presence that will let consumers see and shop a wide variety of collections of curated favorites,” Hendee explains, adding that the aim is to inspire shoppers to check the label for cotton so “the next thing you buy has a chance to be your new favorite.”

Research shows more than 9 in 10 consumers prefer their jeans (96%), tees (96%), socks (93%) and casual shirts (91%) be made from cotton and cotton blends, according to the MonitorTM data. Beyond that, nearly 9 of 10 (89%) prefer cotton or cotton blend underwear, followed by pajamas/sleepwear (86%), dress shirts (78%), casual slacks (74%), and activewear (65%).

Additionally, the MonitorTM survey finds that in general, 8 in 10 consumers prefer to wear cotton and cotton blends. And nearly the same percentage (79%) say better quality garments are made from all natural fibers like cotton.

 

 

At Faherty, the New York-based beach-inspired sportswear line, quality is actually part of the company’s mission statement. Shoppers are instructed to return a garment at any time “if through any fault in construction or material it does not give you the greatest amount of comfort and wear.” Cotton plays a major role in the brand’s collections.

“People are looking for beautiful things that will fit their aesthetic,” says Kerry Faherty, president. “From a selling perspective, we want people to touch the fabric and admire the pieces we’re selling.”

While Faherty sells at a higher price point, more than 1 in 2 shoppers (54%) say they are willing to pay a premium for natural fibers like cotton, according to the MonitorTM survey. That’s because the fabric touches on so many consumer preferences: More than 8 of 10 describe cotton as comfortable (88%), soft (85%), good quality (85%), casual (83%), durable (82%), and natural (81%).

The ad campaign reflects these statistics.

“This dress is my favorite because it’s flowing and beautiful. It makes me feel elegant,” says one of the ad’s “storytellers.” A young man says, “These pants are my favorite because they keep me comfortable.” Viewers also see a young woman baking in a breathable cotton dress, as well as someone saying her favorite jeans get better with time. Then we also see a woman saying, “I care what goes on my body — and it’s cotton.”

The first commercial launched April 20 with 30- and 15-second spots. Additional commercials will roll out over the course of the year. The “real people with real stories” program, produced by DDB New York, is a departure from the popular ads featuring young celebrities, including Hayden Panettiere, Zooey Deschanel, Miranda Lambert and Colbie Caillat.

Hendee says the company has had “great success” with The Fabric of My Life® campaign that featured each celeb singing her version of the familiar jingle.

“More than 75% of all young females in the U.S. knew the campaign and liked it,” he states. “But cotton needs a stronger dose of help right now to effectively compete with the polyesters and rayons that are being designed to look and feel more like cotton than they ever did in the past. So we embarked upon a year of consumer research and visits with Cotton Incorporated’s technical staff to better understand what consumers really want and what sets cotton apart in delivering upon those wants.”

Kim Kitchings, Cotton Incorporated’s vice president, corporate strategy & program metrics, says extensive consumer research was conducted so the campaign could reflect what consumers say they like and want.

“We learned that 69% of consumers say their favorite piece of clothing is at least 60% cotton,” Kitchings says. “This is particularly significant because it shows that even though cotton has experienced a contraction in market share, it is still something consumers want.”

Consumers also say they’ve owned these favorite cotton or cotton-rich pieces for, on average, three years. And 70% wear these best-loved items once a week or more. Hendee says DDB saw in these insights an opportunity to get consumers to appreciate the things they already own and love — and use over and over again. Consumers, he says, keep wearing their favorite garments because they consistently fit well, look great, are comfortable and don’t quickly lose shape or wear out.

“The funny thing about apparel favorites that meet these criteria: they tend to be made of cotton,” Hendee says. “For instance, denim is of course cotton but few consumers think of that fact…or credit cotton for it. Until now.”