Aussie wool body repositions to counter boycott

After years of controversy and boycotting over the practice of mulesing, Australian Wool Innovation is attempting to reposition two of its key brands, following work by Landor Associates.

According to reports, a campaign launched in 2004 by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – calling for a boycott of Australian merino wool to protest against the painful method used to fleece it – has damaged the reputation of the industry globally, with up to 34 international retailers, including US brand Abercrombie & Fitch, supporting the boycott.

Mulesing involves the removal of strips of wool-bearing wrinkle skin from around the breech of sheep, and is common in Australia as a way of combating fly strike on merino breeds.

Industry body AWI has responded recently by attempting to lobby international retailers which support the boycott, reports say.

It also launched a special collection, promoting Australian wool, for the inaugural Protegé Project at Australian Fashion Week earlier this year.

Landor’s work focuses on enhancing the appeal of both Australian merino – aimed at high-end fashion houses – and ‘superior merino’, aimed at Green-conscious consumers.

Landor Australia managing director Michael Graham says, ‘The ultimate intent is to stimulate demand for Australian merino and reduce price elasticity, by showing leading luxury brands and fashion retailers its incredible versatility, and the possibilities it offers.

‘This means creating an emotional and sensory connection for fashion buyers, designers and consumers through emphasising its natural and luxurious qualities.’

The consultancy has redesigned brand elements including visual and photographic style, digital applications and marketing collateral, as well as developing a new corporate identity for AWI.

AWI approached Landor for the project – the consultancy previously worked on branding and market stimulation strategies for the organisation’s merger with the Woolmark Company in October 2007.

Landor declines to comment on the wool ban and associated campaigns.

Established in 2001, AWI is a not-for-profit organisation owned by more than 30 000 Australian wool-growers.

AWI invests in research, development, innovation and marketing along the global supply chain for Australian wool – from wool-growers through to retailers.

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  • Mchael Gleeson November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    The decision to relaunch the Woolmark brand and launch two new Merino brands had nothing to do with the campaign by animal rights groups over mulesing. The marketing effort follows 3 years of market research showing that consumers are looking for a natural, biodegradable and sustainable fibre to wear and that’s what Aussie Merino wool is. Moreover despite a concerted campaign not one major retailer of Australian Merino woollen garments has boycotted Australian wool. For the record the practice of mulesing is being phased out and will be gone by 2010. A significant number of woolgrowers have already stopped. Australian Merino is the world’s most luxurious fibre and deserves the support of design week rather than the misinformation being peddled by animal rights organisations.

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