Benetton’s 50-Year Woolmark Partnership￼
Fashion giant Benetton has launched more than 1.5 million, Woolmark-certified, 100% Merino wool knitwear garments in its Autumn/Winter 2023/24 collection. The knitwear was launched alongside a marketing campaign that commemorates a half century partnership between Benetton and The Woolmark Company and the enduring legacy of Merino wool.
The United Colors of Benetton is one of the best-known fashion companies in the world, with stores in the most important global markets. In October, the brand launched 1.52 million items of Woolmark-certified knitwear in more than 1,500 Benetton stores across the world as part of its Autumn/Winter 2023 collection, plus a further 180,000 Woomark-certified accessories.
The knitwear in the collection benefits from the natural attributes of extra fine Merino wool – including softness and comfort, and its colour fastness which ensures the bright colours that are an iconic aesthetic of the Benetton brand.
Marking the launch of the collection, Benetton introduced a campaign that celebrates both the quality of its Merino wool apparel and the historic 50th anniversary of it becoming a Woolmark licensee. Since 1973, Benetton has been certified to attach the famous Woolmark logo on its wool garments as an independent guarantee of quality.
“We were among the first brands in the world to affix the Woolmark logo to our wool apparel. Fifty years later, we are proud to celebrate a partnership that is synonymous with respect for the environment and total quality for our customers,” said CEO of Benetton Group, Massimo Renon.
AWI CEO John Roberts says it is a natural collaboration between the two brands that is based on a fibre that embodies quality, durability and care for the planet and its inhabitants.
“We consider it an important part of Merino wool’s ongoing legacy to renew partnerships with iconic brands like Benetton. It remains a key priority for us to connect high quality Australian Merino wool with beloved brands that span generations,” he said.
“By building reputation and trust around the Woolmark logo as a quality brand, this campaign promotes retail sales to increase Merino wool consumption.”
Never-Ending Wool Marketing Campaign
The marketing campaign utilises the slogan ‘Never-Ending Wool’, which not only refers to the enduring 50-year collaboration between the two brands, but also highlights the durability of Benetton’s pure wool products, enabling them to last for many years and be handed down from generation to generation.
A key visual of the ‘Never-Ending Wool’ marketing campaign is a video showing a group of 50 women – one woman for each year of the 50-year collaboration – standing next to each other wearing Benetton knitwear. As the camera pans out to reveal the whole group, we see that the women’s outfits and hair are styled to match the different decades of the past 50 years, and that the women are actually the same person, which is a reference to the durability of Benetton wool clothing that has been worn by individuals throughout the past half century.
The ‘Never-Ending Wool’ slogan is also a reference to Merino wool as a natural and renewable fibre which can help safeguard the health of the planet long into the future. Benetton’s commitment to sustainability is a philosophy that has permeated the brand’s culture for decades. This continues today with environmental protection initiatives involving various activities, from the selection of raw materials to improving the efficiency of processes along the entire supply chain.
The campaign used a mixture of in-store and digital initiatives in European markets.
Benetton store windows and in-store displays utilised the campaign’s messaging to generate interest and highlight the Merino wool knitwear to customers.
To support the launch of the campaign, The Woolmark Company also supplied educational content about the benefits of Merino wool and Woolmark certification for Benetton staff’s e-learning platform, available in multiple languages. This enabled store managers and sales staff to expertly advise in-store customers about the knitwear to increase purchases.
In selected stores, customers who purchased a Merino wool garment received a gift package of Woolmark Apparel Care-certified bio-detergent suitable for washing wool garments, together with a booklet providing instructions for the care and storage of wool clothing.
The digital component of the campaign included a landing page on the Benetton website that explained the benefits of Merino wool and Woolmark certification and, importantly, pointed customers to where they could make online purchases of the knitwear. An e-newsletter sent to Benetton subscribers similarly highlighted the campaign and pointed where to make purchases.
A massive social media, influencer and digital advertising campaign was also undertaken to increase the collection’s visibility and sales.