US campaign asks consumers to give wool a sporting chance

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New South Wales farmer Dave Ward from Spring Ponds, near Goulburn, features in the new Australian Wool Innovation campaign targeting the US.
Camera IconNew South Wales farmer Dave Ward from Spring Ponds, near Goulburn, features in the new Australian Wool Innovation campaign targeting the US. Credit: Australian Wool Innovation

A new marketing campaign aims to counter US consumers’ “outdated” perception that wool is always warm and itchy, and instead promote the fibre as soft on skin and perfect for sports.

Australian Wool Innovation’s Feel Merino campaign was launched to increase US awareness of Merino wool.

The campaign tagline was simple: soft on your skin no matter the challenge, Mother Nature knows best with Merino wool.

It was launched by AWI’s marketing arm, The Woolmark Company, last month and is planned to end later this month.

It aimed to drive purchases of Merino wool performance wear through e-commerce giant Amazon, by directing consumers to the new Feel Merino store.

There, they can buy Merino wool products from brand partners Woolly, Ibex, Vivibarefoot, Minus 33, Pearl iZUMi, Western Rise, Ridge Merino, Wool&Prince and Ortovox.

The campaign aims to tap into the fastest-growing apparel sector — sportswear — and a current retail boom in outdoor sectors including hiking and biking.

Australian Wool Innovation's new Feel Merino campaign aims to promote wool in the US.
Camera IconAustralian Wool Innovation's new Feel Merino campaign aims to promote wool in the US. Credit: Beyond the Bale

Targeting millennials, the campaign promotes wool as ideal for sports and outdoor adventure.

The campaign complements other efforts to promote product development and marketing and the benefits of wool.

In AWI’s December edition of Beyond the Bale, the company noted that while “great progress” had been made, there was still work to do.

“There is still a persistent and outdated misconception amongst the average consumer, especially in the US, that wool is warm and itchy and only suitable for very traditional (ie non-sport) sectors,” the company wrote.

Shot in NSW, the campaign aims to tell the story of people who wear it — the iconic Aussie woolgrower and the everyday athlete.

The two are presented in parallel, showing that woolgrowers have days as physically exerting as athletes.

Australian Wool Innovation's Feel Merino campaign aims to promote wool in the US.
Camera IconAustralian Wool Innovation's Feel Merino campaign aims to promote wool in the US. Credit: Beyond the Bale

Goulburn woolgrower Dave Ward was the star of the campaign, wearing a wool flannel from Ridge Merino, while a hiker wore a Rhone Merino jersey.

Mr Ward and Skye and three children, who run a 17-micron, self-replacing Merino flock at their property Spring Ponds.

“Being involved in filming for the campaign to promote Australian Merino wool to the US market was a great experience,” Mr Ward said.

“It’s an exciting campaign which should have good cut-through to the US consumer — an increasingly important market for our fibre.

“I wore Merino wool base-layers when I walked the Kokoda Track a few years ago and even in all that humidity it kept me cool and never smelt even after days of wear.”

The campaign includes the Feel Merino Anthem, a 60-second film and shorter edits.

All of the clips have been shown across The Woolmark Company’s digital and social channels, plus on e-commerce giant Amazon.com.

It’s an exciting campaign which should have good cut-through to the US consumer — an increasingly important market for our fibre.

Dave Ward

These stories are being used across the digital and social channels of The Woolmark Company and the brand partners.

AWI chief executive Stuart McCullough said the campaign aimed to challenge “outdated perceptions of wool” and create “excitement about the future”.

“It celebrates the innovative and natural performance qualities and super softness of Merino wool — and is finding a home for Merino wool with a new audience,” he said.

“Partnering with the largest retailer on the planet, Amazon, provides the campaign with the perfect media platform for our nation’s premium fibre whilst also driving consumers towards Merino wool performance wear products that they can readily purchase.”

A further element of the campaign will also feature an Australian-born sportsman famous in the US, with the celebrity set to be announced later this month.

The campaign aims to direct consumers to the Feel Merino store within Amazon.com, where they are directed to Merino wool products they can buy from brand partners.

To find out more, visit woolmark.com/feel-merino.

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