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Woolmark Gold: delivering measured gains for Aussie wool
Mar '11
Initial data from the Woolmark Gold campaign, launched in China in November 2010 shows a 15pc increase in Merino fabric sales amongst participating brands.

A co-ordinated media and retail initiative, Woolmark Gold involved eight top European fabric and tailoring brands in its first year, all stating that to dress with style is to dress with wool. The campaign linked Australian woolgrowing and European craftsmanship with Chinese aspiration.

A unique part of the program was a nine-part television series explored the heritage and qualities of Merino wool, from the pristine Australian environment in which it is grown to the luxurious tailors of Europe.

Initially shown on the China Business Network (CBN) as part of the Style Focus program, Woolmark Gold was seen by over 60 million viewers. Extensive print, radio and online media helped lift the combined audience of Woolmark Gold to over 300 million1. Having the well respected television host and Professor, Cao Jingxing anchor the series was significant and CBN recently announced it will replay the program after it achieved excellent ratings.

The influential textile magazine throughout Asia, TA Weekly, voted Woolmark Gold one of the top 10 industry marketing events of 2010 whilst the decision by Shanghai Airlines to show the series on its domestic flights was an added boost.

The large promotional reach of the campaign achieved in only four months is beginning to show signs of paying off. It has built a platform that will generate long term growth in Merino sales in the Chinese domestic market according to Sam Guthrie, General Manager Global Business Development for Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).

“Our target for 2010 was for Woolmark Gold to build a very solid platform that not only positioned wool as a luxury fibre, but inspired sales of premium quality fabric along the supply chain. Already with garment makers and fashion brands, we can see the campaign resonating,” he added.

To help develop sales from this publicity, AWI conducted fabric sales workshops in Shanghai with the world's largest association of men's suitors, the Wenzhou Garment Association (WGA). It contains most of the Chinese leading menswear brands and ODMs (original design manufacturers) including Baoxiniao, Judger, Fapai, Jodoll, Dong Meng, Giuseppe, Aobenni.

Chairman of WGA, Mr. Zhen Chen Ai said: “Woolmark Gold is such a great campaign as it reveals the depth of heritage of tailor made garments and Australian Merino. As a result of the Woolmark Gold initiative, the eight leading garment enterprises have increased their premium Merino wool quantities by at least 15pc on average. We're so delighted to have the chance to cooperate with AWI and Woolmark Gold partners and we do look forward to extending our future business cooperation in the long term and to leverage the Woolmark Gold platform to upgrade the whole industry.”

As a brand positioning itselfwith the natural qualities of wool for a growing domestic market, Shanghai Icicle consumed 25 tonnes of Merino wool fabric in 2010, including sourcing from Woolmark Gold partners for their woven and knitwear women's ranges. This is a 78pc increase relative to 2009. Having created a new business line of bespoke tailoring in all its stores using Australian Merino, Aubenni has lifted its orders by 100pc over the past 12 months.

Woolmark Gold will be continued, with additional campaigns launched annually to consolidate the success of the 2010 activity and drive consumers to the new volumes of Merino wool now at Chinese retail.

AWI Manager of Market Intelligence and Trade Reporting Dr Paul Swan said: “we take seriously our responsibility to measure the returns to AWI shareholders and pipeline partners from our investments and we will be reporting further results of the investments as these come to light.”

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI)

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