The Medium Is Me
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Pocketing specialist Cotswold Industries is turning the apparel industry inside out.

A brainchild of chief executive officer James McKinnon, Cotswold is teaming with Cotton Incorporated on a pilot program with key accounts to create what he’s calling “Invertising–The Medium is Me.”

The concept essentially takes standard brand advertising and co-brands the pocketing of items like jeans with message-oriented marketing. The kickoff involves printing Cotton Inc.’s “Blue Jeans Go Green” campaign on the pocketing fabric Cotswold manufactures for brands.

“Since its early days, Cotton Incorporated has been a marketing innovator. The Invertising project with Cotswold is a current example,” Kim Kitchings, senior vice president of consumer marketing at Cotton Inc., said. “Blue Jean aficionados know that the best way to care for jeans is turn them inside out before laundering. The Invertising project leverages that knowledge as an opportunity to promote our denim recycling program with every wash load.”

McKinnon said the idea was born out of the concept of native advertising and the desire to bring advertising to apparel in a new way.

“Invertising is about creating value through native partnerships–it follow business models such as having Sony speakers in American made cars,” McKinnon said. “We’re trying to say to garment manufacturers that there are other opportunities to create value. You create value by increasing margins, reducing costs or partnering with like or above market brands. And you do so in a way that makes marketing sense for both of you.”

Cotswold counts VF Corp., Levi Strauss & Co and Abercrombie & Fitch among its largest consumer apparel accounts. An invertising pilot program launched Feb. 1 with one brand and Cotton Inc. has also agreed to proceed on a trial with another.

“We came up with a structure very much like an advertising model–we find the advertiser, the advertiser pays for the print on the pockets and either you get a free pocket or it could be a revenue share,” McKinnon explained. “This type of revenue share has not really been done. It’s been done in NASCAR and FIFA, but not in the mass channel.”

Cotton Inc.’s first foray into invertising will feature its Blue Jeans Go Green campaign, which collects denim across the U.S. to divert it from landfills, and partners with Bonded Logic Inc. to recycle it into UltraTouch Denim Insulation.

“It’s a great way to say this isn’t about selling just another product, but about educating the consumer,” McKinnon added

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