COTTON’S 24 HOUR RUNWAY SHOW TAPS CONSUMERS, BENEFITS APPAREL BRANDS
(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) – Despite intermittent drizzles in South Beach, Cotton’s 24 Hour Runway Show successfully showcased all promised 1,440 cotton looks − one per minute − between 8 pm Friday, March 1 and 8 pm Saturday, March 2. The celebrity-studded event streamed live on cotton24hours.thefabricofourlives.com to more than 425,000 unique viewers, providing visibility – and sales – to the 74 participating brands.
The success of the inaugural Cotton’s 24 Hour Runway Show in 2011 prompted Cotton Incorporated to produce a second iteration. The South Beach location and hosts, Giuliana & Bill Rancic of E!, remained consistent with the first 24-Hour event. New this year was enhanced consumer engagement in the event’s promotion and execution, and more direct benefits to the participating brands.
Technically speaking, the event actually began in November, 2012, when “The Road To The Runway” invited consumers across the country to submit images showing off their own unique cotton looks. The 4,000 entrants were encouraged to leverage their own social media to navigate a series of voting phases that ultimately decided six winners from around the country. With incremental prizes offered as incentives along the way, each of the six grand prize winners received an all-expense-paid trip to the live event and $2,500.
“Finding an effective use for social media is challenging for any company, but especially so for Cotton Incorporated because we do not sell a product,” explains Ric Hendee, Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing, Cotton Incorporated. “Through ‘The Road To The Runway,’ we engaged consumers to promote our event; an event that echoed the fashionability/versatility message of our television campaign, which in turn supports brands that sell cotton-rich apparel.”
Promoted Tweets supporting the event were extremely successful, generating a 1.77% engagement rate, and exceeding the industry average of 1.17%. The event hashtag, #cottons24hours, was highly active over the course of the day-long event, and achieved “trending” status on Twitter midway through the runway show. Contributing to the buzz was the social media clout of Tweeting celebrities in attendance; including Lauren Conrad, Louise Roe, and Camilla Belle, who stars in one of the company’s current television commercials.
From The Cotton Bride to Gap, the runway featured looks and price points illustrating cotton’s range, as well as a range of price points. Over half of the brands opted to participate in a consumer-facing 24% discount promotion, valid only for the duration of the show. “One brand told us that they had a 400% increase in sales during their segment of the runway show; another made a single sale of over $20,000 to a single customer watching the event from South Africa,” says Hendee.
About the Cotton Board: The Cotton Research & Promotion Act established the Cotton Board as a quasi-governmental, non-profit entity to serve as the administrator of the Cotton Research & Promotion Program. Funded by America’s cotton producers and importers through the cotton check-off, the Program’s research and promotion activities are conducted worldwide by Cotton Incorporated, the Cotton Board’s sole-source contracting organization, to increase the demand for and improve the market position of cotton.
The Cotton Research & Promotion Program continues to work in all areas of cotton’s pipeline – from the field to the consumer – to keep cotton the number one fiber choice in the U.S. For more information about the Cotton Board and the innovative activities stemming from the Program, visit www.cottonboard.org.