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.
Merino knitwear products in the Benetton collection
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.
Benetton historical advert from 1977 in which the Woolmark logo featured.
“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
Benetton’s ‘Never-Ending Wool’ marketing video.
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.
Marketing campaign’s touch points
Benetton store window in London highlighting the campaign.
The home page of the Benetton website highlighting the campaign.
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.
More information: www.woolmark.com/benetton50
Benetton CEO praises woolgrowers on visit to Australia
Benetton CEO on a visit to Rugby Station at Boorowa on the Southern Tablelands of NSW.
Benetton Group CEO Massimo Renon (second from right) at Rugby Station, with (left to right) AWI CEO John Roberts; woolgrowers Georgie, Michael and Belinda Kelly; and AWI Strategic Advisor Fabrizio Servente.
Benetton Group CEO Massimo Renon visited Australia in September to see first-hand how Australian wool is grown.
Mr Renon visited two properties in southern NSW: Rugby Station at Rugby, owned and operated by Michael and Belinda Kelly and their daughter Georgie, and Willawong Pastoral Company at Murringo, owned and operated by Tony and Annabelle Wallace. Mr Renon was impressed with what he saw.
“When I think about what I've seen in the past two days, there is a huge potential. I told the woolgrowers you should be proud of what you’re doing because you are putting this passion and this pride into a product. So that is very fruitful,” Mr Renon said.
During his visit, Mr Renon commented that wool has a great story when it comes to sustainability, which is important to Benetton.
“Wool represents one of the hopes of this planet. We strongly believe cooperation between companies like Benetton and farmers and all the new operators in this sector will be one of the keys for the future sustainability of our sector,” he said.
“Sustainability has been one of the fundamental pillars of the company. We have been the pioneer of sustainability as a global company and we feel very proud of this.
“Wool will be a key factor in our success. We’re not interested in fast fashion.
“But wool is ideal not only for a company like Benetton, because you can use wool for different purposes, different material for different uses and different product categories. It is a unique fibre that has such a versatility. It will 100% be at the centre of this transition [by the industry towards sustainability].
“It will mean more wool. Not only because it’s a part of our product strategy, not only because it’s increasing the demand, but also because of the quality. Consumers are appreciating this much more than in the past … It’s not solely something that is fashionable, but it’s something that’s to be coherent with their values. Young consumers now are getting into the store and looking at the label and see what the material is made of.”
Mr Renon’s business trip included meetings with AWI.
“Benetton is an iconic brand that AWI and The Woolmark Company are proud to partner with,” said AWI CEO John Roberts. “Their commitment to wool is a shot in the arm for the industry. It also reinforces our belief that the long-term future of wool is bright. Wool has so much to offer as a fibre. It is natural, sustainable, versatile, breathable and comfortable. The fact we produce the best wool in the world also helps.”
This article appeared in the December 2023 edition of AWI’s Beyond the Bale magazine. Reproduction of the article is encouraged.