Cotton Incorporated’s consumer-directed television advertising and other promotional programs by the cotton industry’s research and promotion company “have provided the critical mass that has helped rebuild cotton’s market share from a low of 34 percent in the early 1970s to more than 61 percent by 2000,” says Brad Robb.

At the summer meeting of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association at Biloxi, Miss., he outlined some of the successes of the organization funded by producer checkoff dollars and contributions by importers of cotton and cotton textile products.

“The latest TV commercial in the award-winning ‘Fabric of Our Lives’ series features Hayden Panettiere, star of the ‘Nashville’ TV series, tying her popularity to our cotton brand,” says Robb, communications director for the Cotton Board at Memphis.

“After just the first two weeks of the campaign, it had earned 29 percent visual recognition among the targeted demographic audience — women ages 18 to 34. It has gone on to a high of 66 percent recognition. That’s a really fantastic number.”

In the commercial, Panettiere sings her own unique version of the “Fabric of Our Lives” theme (see the commercial here:

She is shown wearing a wide range of cotton clothing styles, ranging from campfire casual to dressy outfits for a night on the town. The website also has an interactive feature that allows the viewer to see the clothes in Panettiere’s closet, with information about each piece and a video of her talking about the clothing. There is also a question-and-answer in which she talks about clothes, fashion, and cotton.

Another Cotton Incorporated promotion, “Cotton From Blue to Green,” has collected nearly 1 million pieces of denim from people all over the U.S. for recycling into an insulation material that is used in Habitat for Humanity housing.

“Consumers turn in old or unwanted denim clothing,” Robb says, “and a company called Bonded Logic turns it into ‘Ultra Touch’ denim insulation, which is donated to the Habitat for Humanity program for housing and building projects in economically-distressed areas, particularly those hit by natural disasters.

“Through the end of 2012, the program had received over 954,000 pieces of denim. This is material that is going to a very useful purpose — and it represents 600 tons of denim that didn’t go into landfills.”

It is estimated that over 2 million square feet of insulation can be produced from 1 million pieces of denim.

The “Cotton From Blue to Green” program was an outgrowth of the very successful “Cotton’s Dirty Laundry” tour that was conducted from 2005-2007.

One of the early denim collection events was held at Mississippi State University in fall 2007. “Hundreds of students came out, played education games, won prizes, and donated more than 1,200 pieces of denim,” Robb says.