Last month on the campus and football field at Texas Tech University, Cotton Incorporat-ed partnered with sports apparel brand Under Armour (UA) to celebrate a true success story for UA, consumers and U.S. Cotton.
More than two years ago, Cotton Incorporated answered the call to assist in the development of UA’s first line of cotton-rich performance sports apparel. Although UA wasn’t originally a fan of cotton, its research revealed that although it thought that cotton may have been the enemy, its customers certainly did not.
“We didn’t get mad when we saw UA’s ‘Cotton is the Enemy’ ad campaign,” says Berrye Worsham, Cotton Incorporated president and chief executive officer. “It just made us more determined to create a cotton product that performed – not only to our expectations, but to theirs, as well as their consumers.”
New Technology Delivers
After working with UA and its mill supplier to implement the new technology on yarn used for manufacturing the Charged Cotton line, the product was announced to the world. Today Charged Cotton is UA’s top selling apparel line.
Consumers quickly embraced the new line of cotton apparel, and UA recognized that it had a product, which consumers loved. The company recently introduced another cotton-rich line called Charged Cotton STORM, which has a water-repellent finish. UA’s staff showcased both of these products in the days leading up to the game between Texas Tech and Texas A&M.
Billed as “The Cotton Game,” head football coach Tommy Tuberville and his Texas Tech assistants ran onto the field wearing UA’s new line of Charged Cotton shirts, and Cotton Incorporated chairman and Texas cotton producer Rickey Bearden delivered the game ball during a pre-game ceremony where cotton captured the spotlight.
Logistical planning for the event took a coordinated team effort from start to finish among the energetic marketing staff of UA, Cotton Incorporated, Cotton Board and Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., whose tireless work proved invaluable to the success of the entire project.
“We were pleased to be a part of this project and look forward to our continued relationship with Under Armour through their Charged Cotton line, which has created a tremendous new market for cotton,” says Steve Verett, executive vice president for Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.
The planning culminated with a pre-game event that set the standard for spotlighting the growing partnership between UA and cotton.
“Under Armour is a very cutting-edge company that understands its customers, and we are genuinely excited about our association with them and these new cotton products they are bringing to consumers who love cotton,” says Mark Messura, senior vice president, global supply chain marketing, Cotton Incorporated.
Hard Work Pays Off
It’s important to remember what led to this true success story for cotton. Today’s consumers prefer cotton – period. Cotton Incorporated’s staff, including its textile chemistry researchers, worked collaboratively to develop cotton moisture-control finishing technologies.
This vision, coupled with creative lab research work and wear-testing trials, has catapulted cotton into a category where it once had a small market share. Now that these “moisture control” apparel finishing technologies have been developed, the potential to advance cotton’s position in the athletic market is positive.
These performance products possess what consumers have come to expect from cotton – softness, durability and comfort, with the wearing performance their active lifestyles demand.
The Cotton Board, which administers Cotton Incorporated’s Research and Promotion Program, contributed information for this report.
Professional Athletes Participate In Promotion
As part of the “wear testing” phase during the development of Charged Cotton, professional athletes were asked to give their opinions after putting the “moisture wicking” products through their paces.
Two of the athletes whose images were used to promote the new line of cotton apparel were NFL quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and American alpine ski racer, Lindsey Vonn, who has won three consecutive World Cup and downhill championships.