Shocking Woolmark ad exposes climate danger of synthetics

woolmark lede

The Woolmark Company’s environmentally focused new global brand campaign ‘Wear Wool, Not Fossil Fuel’ aims to educate consumers about the hidden impact of synthetic fabrics on the environment and how choosing natural fibres such as wool can be a solution to reducing fashion’s impact. 

Featuring a series of powerful visual messages that highlights the link between synthetic fabric and the crude oil used in its manufacture and the inherent eco-benefits of merino wool, the work is tailored to film and OOH, with initial media scheduled in the US, UK, France and Australia for September.

The Woolmark Company

The campaign was written and produced in creative collaboration between Park Village, 20something and Studio Birthplace (consisting of directors Sil Van Der Woerd & Jorik Dozy), who’s award winning portfolio includes their recent Cannes Lions & D&AD winning work Wasteminster: A Downing Street Disaster for Greenpeace UK.

At the centre of the campaign is a stunning and moody 60 second hero film (directed by Van Der Woerd & Dozy), showing people struggling to escape an oil-filled swimming pool.

This scene is based on the insight that every 25 minutes, an Olympic pool’s worth of crude oil is used to produce synthetic clothing, which amounts to almost 350 million barrels a year. 

The film is accompanied by visually immersive and striking anamorphic DOOH in iconic sites in London’s Piccadilly Circus (below) and New York’s Times Square, along with global OOH, social support and an interactive WeTransfer partnership scheduled to coincide with the launch.

Fran Docx, Strategy Partner at 20something, said: “Back in 1980, our wardrobes were filled with natural materials like cotton, wool and cashmere. 

“These natural materials made up 60% of the market, far outstripping the relatively new polyester and polyamide alternatives. 

“The rise of fast fashion, Instagram outfit culture and turbocharged consumerism has seen a wholesale shift in what lurks in our wardrobes. 

“We rarely make a wider ecological connection between clothes, the fibres they’re made of, and the impact on the planet. 

“Our ambition for our work with The Woolmark Company, is to address that and raise awareness of the alternatives to synthetic fabrics.”

Sil van der Woerd & Jorik Dozy, Directors, Studio Birthplace: “We’re in the middle of a climate emergency and as filmmakers we believe it is our responsibility to tell the most important stories of our time. 

“To make the invisible visible. Did you know that about 70% of all clothes today are made from synthetics? That’s another word for oil. We’re literally wearing oil. 

“The fast fashion industry uses 2.5 million litres of it every 25 minutes. Big numbers like these are often hard to comprehend and therefore we struggle to connect with them. 

“Using film to visualise big data in ways we can relate to it will help us come to grip with the reality of our consumer culture. 

“Change starts with awareness and with every film or piece of content we create, we push to work towards a more sustainable future for our planet.”

Woolmark Imagery
Clean clothes: Woolmark’s provocative campaign aims to raise awareness of natural fibres wool.

Adam Booth, Managing Partner, Park Village: “Woolmark approached Park Village and Studio Birthplace off the back of our work with Greenpeace, and we immediately knew we needed the expertise of 20something’s incredible creative and strategic team to guide the process. 

“This project was conceived through Agency & Production working together from initial pitch through creative ideation and its success couldn’t have been accomplished without the skill, dedication and expertise of all the partners involved working together with a singular vision. 

“The result is a culmination of over a year’s work to produce a 360 campaign producing AV, DOOH, Stills and a fashion week activation. 

“We couldn’t be happier to translate the client’s impo