Woolmark Shocks With Petroluem-Drenched Campaign

Swimmers struggle to free themselves from a pool full of black crude oil in a new campaign from Woolmark aimed at addressing consumers’ eco-anxieties.

Themed "Wear wool. Not Fossil Fuel," the campaign stems from Woolmark's research that reveals how confused people are by fashion’s conflicting sustainability claims.

"There's a lot of greenwashing and misinformation out there about the impact of fibers, fabrics and sustainable fashion," says Laura Armstrong, Woolmark's general manager of marketing communications. "Wool is a natural material, and we thought that was widely understood. But our research told us that consumers, particularly younger ones, still don't understand the impact of fashion."

She tells Marketing Daily the company decided to use a pool of petroleum -- which illustrates that every 25 minutes, the textile industry uses a swimming pool full of crude oil -- to create a little shock value.



"We wanted to do it in a way that is elegant, but we need this pointed message right now."

For years, Woolmark's messaging has relied on the positive benefits of wool, with plenty of beautiful footage of Australia's Merino sheep, and models wearing cozy sweaters, Armstrong says.

"It doesn't always cut through. We're tiny and represent just 1% of the global fiber markets. So we have to shout loud. That's why we wanted to go with this memorable message."

About 70% of global fabrics are synthetic and made from petroleum.

The budget for the campaign is small, including the digital film and elaborate out-of-home activations in London and New York, as well as OOH in France and Australia. The company hopes the timing of the release, just as various Fashion Weeks around the world kick off, can increase its impact.

The challenge, Armstrong says, isn't that people perceive wool as more costly. "There's a real lack of awareness for what merino wool is. The reality is that people don't consider fabric when they are making a purchase. The goal of this campaign is to try and reshape that purchase journey."

She adds, "We want people to check the label of clothing and think twice before they buy it."

Woolmark created the campaign with 20something, Park Village and Studio Birthplace.

Woolmark is a subsidiary of Australian Wool Innovation, a not-for-profit that researches, develops and markets Australian wool. It's funded by some 60,000 woolgrowers.

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