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The Cashmere Collection: Fashion With Compassion

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The world’s first and only fashion collection entirely crafted in Bathroom Tissue

Winner of the globally coveted IABC ‘Best of the Best’ Gold Quill Award 2019, Strategic Objectives conceived The Cashmere Collection as a bold and unexpected strategy to re-brand Cottonelle to an entirely new name, Cashmere Bathroom Tissue, back in 2004. Our original concept which lives on to this day in its 17th annual iteration has won just about every PR award in the record books for effectively integrating fashion and corporate social responsibility with a top-quality product to achieve best-selling status in Canada.

Background

One of the world’s longest running, most successful Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, The Cashmere Collection is an internationally recognized fashion event that underpins the brand’s marketing platform year ‘round. It has won more than 50 top awards including the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) Golden World Award of Excellence for Integrated Marketing and Communications, and the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) Gold Award for Best Public Relations Program in Canada, not to mention it’s most prestigious hardware to date – the 2019 IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) “Best of the Best” Gold Quill Award.

The Challenge

From Cotton to Cashmere

Cottonelle, a category leader, had dominated the Canadian marketplace for more than 35 years in 2004, when its maker, Kruger Products, challenged Canada's top Public Relations Firm, Strategic Objectives to conceive an innovative Marketing and Social PR strategy to re-brand Cottonelle and transfer brand equity to an entirely new name, Cashmere Bathroom Tissue. All without losing its market-leading position. Cashmere’s new, premium, luxury positioning would be, and remains, “Nothing feels like making a difference, nothing feels like Cashmere.” Our challenge? How do you make news for toilet paper?!

The Solution

Support a Crucial Cause with Unconventional Fashion

Industry research showed that consumers in the brand’s prime demographic (women aged 25-54) are interested in fashion and gravitate to products that support an important cause. Our thoughtful solution was to make good news for the brand by leveraging its namesake fabric to create The Cashmere Collection, a memorable, annual showcase for Canada’s top fashion designers and their original BT (Bathroom Tissue) Couture, all crafted in luxuriously soft Cashmere Bathroom Tissue — all in support of Canadians affected by breast cancer.

The Cashmere Collection presented the perfect platform to partner with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF), which Kruger was already supporting. Today, Cashmere supports breast cancer efforts at the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) which amalgamated with CBCF in 2017 and is one of its top five national partners supporting the breast cancer cause.

PR Brand Platform

To keep the collection fresh year after year, we create a dynamic new theme and roster of designers every year, and are currently planning our 18th annual collection, which will debut in Fall 2021. Our fully integrated fund- and awareness-raiser has featured more than 200 top Canadian fashion designers to date and has raised multi-millions of dollars for the cause.

Cashmere depends on our annual collection to provide captivating content for its website, social channels, advertising, and trade and consumer-marketing activities, which makes it imperative to introduce exciting new elements every year. The collection has featured a wide variety of celebrity curators, supermodels, performers, and spectacular papercraft fashions including mature, accessible, plus-size, and Indigenous designs, and a stellar cast of Canadian designers through the years!

Annual Fashion Show and Photo Shoot

Each year-long campaign pivots on an exclusive, end-of-September live fashion show in Toronto, Canada’s media hub, to kick-off October Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A brilliant line-up of Canadian fashion designers is recruited every year to showcase their vision of a future without breast cancer, interpreted in one-of-a-kind BT couture. We produce a high fashion photoshoot and conduct an intensive media relations strategy beginning in early May and running through November to generate copious mainstream, digital, and social media coverage from coast-to-coast and around the world. Each year is guided by a unique and newsworthy theme, be it a Crystal Ball to commemorate the collection’s 15th anniversary, or our most recent 2020 Masquerade Ball, honouring sixteenth-century Venetian ballgowns and masks.

The 17th Annual Cashmere Collection Gets a Pandemic Pivot

2020 brought an unexpected, unprecedented twist to our longstanding-program, that no one saw coming. The pandemic challenged many of the traditions the Cashmere Collection is loved, and celebrated for: gathering hundreds of media and fashion lovers together to watch a live runway show; hosting an editorial photoshoot; and doing media interviews in newsrooms across the country. The pandemic lockdown forced us to change our plans, big time.

We set the theme for our 2020 collection as Masquerade Ball, inspired by 16th Century Venetian ballgowns and masks, back in November 2019, months before Coronavirus reared its ugly head in North America. We engaged 15 leading Canadian designers, all, all-star veterans of past collections, to create original BT Couture modelled on our theme, little knowing that bathroom tissue and face masks would become the all-time hottest commodities of 2020. Despite the pandemic lockdown, we knew without a doubt the show must go on. The Cashmere Collection is an essential, annual fundraiser for the breast cancer cause, and it champions Canada’s talented fashion design community.

Our positive, solutions-driven approach, and collaborative partnering with Kruger's other marketing agency partners, combined with bold innovation brought #Cashmere20 to life in an entirely new, virtual way, and for the very first time, invited Canadians from coast-to-coast to take a virtual front-row seat for the show in the comfort of their own home.

We leveraged Kruger Products' partnership with Bell Media and its hit TV show, The Social; and safely staged a socially distanced runway event for broadcast on The Social’s Facebook Page. This bold idea-turned-reality paid off! We increased show viewership by more than 35 times! Cashmere's annual fundraiser, Vote Couture for the Cure, scored a record number of votes, up 25 per cent year-on-year, and we added yet another magnificent collection of Cashmere Bathroom Tissue Couture to our iconic, record-breaking breast cancer CSR program.

Cashmere Gives Back

The brand’s passionate commitment to building a future without breast cancer lies at the Cashmere Collection’s core. October marks the annual return of the brand’s key fundraising activities, including the release of Limited Edition Cashmere, where twenty-five cents from the sale of every package goes directly to the breast cancer cause at CSS; and Vote Couture for the Cure, an interactive, online initiative we created to engage Canadians in voting for their favourite BT Couture creation, with Cashmere donating $1 for every vote to the cause in the winning designer’s name.

The Result

A 17 Year Campaign that Delivers Exponential Results

A brand platform built to last a lifetime!

1.9B

Positive Media Impressions

3.9K

National and International Stories

54

TOP Awards

  • Winner 3 International IABC Gold Quill Awards 2019
    • Best of the Best
    • Excellence; Special and Experiential Events
    • Excellence; Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Winner 2 IABC/Toronto OVATION Awards 2019:
    • Excellence; Corporate Social Responsibility
    • Excellence; Special Events
  • 2,500+ minutes TV coverage
  • Millions of dollars raised for the breast cancer cause
  • Attended by more than 250+ top fashion industry influencers and media every year
  • The virtual Masquerade Ball attracted +11,000 viewers
  • Featured 200+ top fashion designers including: Marie Saint Pierre, Greta Constantine Denis Gagnon, Paul Hardy, Stephan Caras, UNTTLD and Christopher Paunil
  • Significant social spread, plus the collection trends nationally on Twitter
  • 54 national and international awards including the IPRA Golden World Award of Excellence
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View details

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