Coo Coo for COCOTEX
Surfers are no strangers to the harmful debris accrued from plastic bottle waste. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for coastal sandy banks or the nearby breaking waves to be strewn with plastic byproducts from negligent beachgoers and businesses. 5 Gyres Institute, an organization whose mission to “empower action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, art, education, and adventure,” clearly communicates the ominousness of this environmental disaster. With the assistance of leading scientists and industry specialists, the institute estimates that there are around 269,000 metric tons of plastic on the ocean surface and 51 trillion microplastic particles floating throughout. For reference, that’s more stars than there are in the sky.
Not only are these trash heaps an eye sore, but they have a tangible impact on our health and that of oceanic creatures In fact, after contracting a disease from surfing in plastic waste-ridden waters, entrepreneur, surfer, and musician, Mark Wystrach started The People’s Movement, a company working to reduce the amount of single use plastics being used and improperly discarded through the production of up-cycled, eco-friendly footwear and accessories.
Given surfer’s solicitude for ocean and beach cleanliness, REPREVE’s partnership with Vissla, a Southern California-based surf brand that “represents creative freedom, a forward-thinking philosophy, and a generation of creators and innovators” is particularly appropriate. The headline product for this partnership is Vissla’s “Upcycled Coconut Boardshorts”, a garment made by combining COCOTEX and REPREVE technologies with the exact fabric specifications of: 50% upcycled polyester (REPREVE), 38% coconut (COCOTEX), and 12% spandex.
Vissla is clearly proud to tell the story of these sustainable trunks, as they have a dedicated landing page under the brand’s “About” section that explains the product and its sustainable supply chain. In addition, this page also features a captivatingly quirky video that synthesizes and communicates this information in a particularly engaging manner. The @visslasurf Instagram account also features several photo assets and corresponding captions that highlight the boardies and its unique fabric.
Despite the seemingly exhaustive marketing of this product, I couldn’t help but feel that the content and communication slightly missed the mark. Although REPREVE did the heavy lifting in the fabric production (REPREVE’s 50% fabric spec compared to COCOTEX’s 38%), it only garners a glimmer of the limelight in the brand’s marketing. In fact, even the product name, “Upcycled Coconut Boardshorts,” fails to nod at the inclusion of plastic bottle-produced polyster! I would understand if the REPREVE technology wasn’t particularly applicable to the target audience, but I personally encounter far more plastic bags and bottles polluting our ocean than coconuts and the aforementioned references indicate that plastic pollution is a topic that surfers are deeply passionate about.
With this in mind, I urge Vissla to shift the marketing strategy for their “Upcycled Coconut Boardshorts.” While the coconut story is catching and makes for a scintillating video, I believe that putting more emphasis on REPREVE’s involvement and technology would aptly reach a relevant target audience, thus boosting content impressions and sales.