Woolmark takes on synthetic fabrics in bold new ad

The campaign highlights the environmental impact of synthetics and urges consumers to choose natural fibres such as wool instead

Titled Wear Wool Not Fossil Fuel, Woolmark’s new campaign features striking imagery to emphasise the negative impact of synthetic fabric and the crude oil used in its manufacture.

Released to coincide with the September fashion weeks around the globe, creative company 20something pulls no punches in the ad, which is directed by Studio Birthplace, the directing team behind Greenpeace’s award-winning 2021 film Wasteminster.

The campaign centres on a 60-second film showing people struggling to escape an oil-filled swimming pool, 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.

Accompanying the ad will be an anamorphic digital billboard shown at London’s Piccadilly Circus and New York’s Times Square, along with global OOH and social support.

“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,” say directors Sil Van Der Woerd and Jorik Dozy (aka Studio Birthplace). “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.

Posters for the new Woolmark campaign

“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.”

The ad campaign marks a confident new direction for Woolmark, a brand which is known globally for its iconic logo (which comes with its own interesting back story). This new spot articulates a clear purpose for the brand beyond simply the quality of its products, and arrives at a time when the fashion industry is being forced to reckon with its sustainability and the impact of fast fashion.

Production Company: Park Village
Creative Company: 20something
Creatives/Directors: Jorik Dozy, Sil van der Woerd @ Studio Birthplace
Creative Director: Will Thacker
Creative/Copywriter: Elliott Starr
Photography: Dirk Rees