21/08/2015 — auf Deutsch lesen
Cotton USA: “I love my cotton”
With a new advertising campaign, Cotton USA is aiming to raise awareness for the outstanding quality of American cotton among their customers and consumers. Cotton USA is also drawing attention to the current, and highly interesting, developments within the cotton market.
A T-shirt made from pure cotton feels good and sits well against the skin. It is soft, odour-free, and keeps its shape even after the tenth wash. But do end-consumers even know where the cotton in their newly-purchased top comes from? And, above all, are they even interested? Are they prepared to spend a bit more money on a higher quality product? “All too rarely do the large manufacturers make it apparent that they use American cotton, for example. If they write ‘Cotton USA’ on their shirt labels, they are afraid it will trigger massive campaigns from environmental protection organisations, who immediately audit every stage of production to check whether only American cotton has really been used.
They worry about gaining a bad reputation,” said Edelgard Baumann from Cotton USA in Germany. In their view, it would be worthwhile having more courage when it comes to labelling. Both American as well as German consumers would be prepared to pay more for cotton in clothing, as demonstrated by the latest figures presented by Cotton USA: 69 percent of Americans believe cotton to be the most comfortable fibre. Furthermore, 57 percent of Germans are dissatisfied when synthetic fibres are used in T-shirts instead of cotton. The greatest hindrance in the market remains China. “China has huge amounts of high-priced cotton, and still pushes and subsidises domestic polyester production, which does not help cotton,” said Baumann.
Overall, the global cotton market is a tough place. 70 percent of the world’s cotton is produced in just four countries: Pakistan, the United States, India, and China. At the same time, China is the global leader in cotton imports. So the Middle Kingdom is not only producing cotton itself, but also buying cotton in.
The result is a massive stockpile of cotton that is not being used. In addition to this, more and more cotton was produced globally over the last five years than was ultimately consumed. Cotton is therefore in plentiful supply – 110 million bales are in storage depots around the world, more than half of which are in China. At the same time, cotton consumption by textiles mills is falling and polyester consumption has now been rising constantly for 15 years. Accordingly, a decline in global cotton production is expected – and this is a trend that has been progressively observed over the last few years.
In order to strengthen their own market and convince customers and consumers of the benefits of American cotton, Cotton USA is focusing on showing its wide variety of everyday applications, be it denim shirts, tracksuit bottoms, or bedsheets. There are looks for every type of personality. For this reason, Cotton USA has brought renowned New York agency AR and Argentine photographer Paola Kudacki on board. The Americans are placing particular value on the quality of their cotton, “the only quality brand that stands for purity of the fibres, quality of the material, and responsibility for the planet,” said Dahlen Hancock, cotton farmer and President of the Cotton Council International (ICC), the union of all cotton producers in the United States.
The purity of the fibres is ensured above all through mechanical harvesting of the plants. “In other countries, the plants are still harvested by hand. There, the workers often wear polyester clothing and the tiny fibres can get mixed in with the cotton fibres,” explained Edelgard Baumann. This detail sounds trivial, but polyester fibres can indeed lead to impurities and can later be visible in the end product. Environmental protection also plays a decisive role: customers are placing increasing value on sustainability and transparency.
They do not only want to know what they are eating and drinking, but also what they are wearing on their bodies. The emotional slogan from the new campaign, “I love my cotton”, is intended to appeal directly to the consumers’ conscience and strengthen their loyalty to products made from American cotton. As the new campaign shows, American cotton is not only good, but wonderful.