Gerber Childrenswear wants to make sure more babies are cradled in the cleanest cotton and is launching Gerber Essentials, a line of baby gear sold in Walmart and Target.
While plenty of brands make organic clothing for babies, and Gerber itself has long sold organic cotton clothing in other channels, this may be organic baby clothes’ most mainstream moment yet.
“Parents have always been looking for quality products at a value that is easily accessible,” Connie Pence, Gerber’s director of marketing, tells Marketing Daily. “We recognize that socially responsible fashion is evolving -- and the importance this has for today’s consumer, including millennial parents who are more conscious about creating a better environment for their children’s futures.”
The all-digital ad campaign, from Greenville, South Carolina-based Your Creative People, is tagged, “Better for the planet. Peace of mind for you. Anything for baby.”
Spots are targeting millennial families as well as gift-givers, and are running on YouTube; digital pre-roll is running on desktop and mobile. And Spanish-language ads are running for the Walmart line.
Organic food has long dominated parents’ food choices, but organic textiles continue to be a trickier proposition. Conventionally grown cotton is considered by many to be the dirtiest crop of all, requiring extremely toxic pesticides. Switching over to organic cotton, which requires moving away from pesticides and genetically engineered seeds, is expensive, time-consuming and requires third-party certification.
The Organic Trade Association says that although farmers in 18 countries, led by India, China and Kyrgyzstan, produced 107,980 metric tons of organic cotton in 2016 (the latest year for which figures are available), that still amounts to just 0.5% of global cotton production. (The biggest corporate consumers of this product are C&A, H&M, Tchibo, Nike and Inditex.)
Yet in the U.S., the OTA reports that sales of organic fibers are soaring, reaching a record $1.4 billion in 2016, up 9.2%. And organic fiber sales now make up almost 40% of the total $3.9 billion in organic non-food sales. (Total organic sales for the year, including $43 million in food, reached a record $47 billion.)
The demand for organic clothing “is all consumer-driven,” says Lori Wyman, the North American representative of Global Organic Textile Standard, a third-party certification system. “And people are wary of greenwashing claims, and want to see third-party certification.”
Gerber is not GOTS-certified, but claims its product is 100% certified organic cotton, and that the clothing is certified to STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX.