Today is a day that has taken QUITE A WHILE to come. It’s one that I am POSITIVE a number of friends have been waiting for! For years, I have walked into various sporting goods shops… and as I’d near the clothing sections, I’d feel an uneasiness… In fact, I’d feel damn well unwelcome frequently. So much so that if a certain thing was seen, I would take photos with my phone & share the with words of caution to friends. Here’s what would make my redhead temper flare:
The ad would fire me up. And when I saw friends wearing Under Armour clothes, I’d mention the ad campaign. And when I saw land grant schools (who were being paid tens of thousands of dollars by thousands of cotton farmers) sporting the UA logo on team gear, I would get mad. I couldn’t think that maybe the garment had some performance characteristics like wickability or something because all I saw was “COTTON IS THE ENEMY.”
Now, to be clear, I prefer cotton and think that the fabric of my life feels awesome. I tend to prefer other natural fibers like silk, linen and wool too. BUT I don’t think I’ve even said polyester or any other synthetics were the enemy. In fact, I think there is a real role for them. And I say that while wearing a pair of jeans, a favorite t-shirt (both 100 percent cotton) and a Polartech Mountain Hard Wear jacket that is 100 percent polyester.
See, it was the heated word “enemy” that repeatedly brought my heated reaction. Sort of a tit-for-tat that was unwritten. And I’m sure I am not the only one as I saw a friend from Texas recently point to the phrase when a mutual friend’s profile photo on Facebook included the UA logo.
But months ago, I began hearing rumors in the cotton industry that maybe we could all get along. I was told Under Armour’s ad campaign had changed and visits to their website had me coming up empty for the cotton hatin’ words. I decided to cool off & have practiced UA neutrality for a while. Then came an announcement I had hoped for, it popped up in the daily news email from the National Cotton Council.
Under Armour to introduce cotton shirt in 2011
Baltimore Business Journal – by Ryan Sharrow
Cotton is no longer Under Armour Inc.’s enemy.
Under Armour CEO Kevin A. Plank said Tuesday the Baltimore sportswear maker will introduce its “first true performance cotton shirt” next spring.
The product will “introduce Under Armour to a whole new level of consumers,” Plank told analysts on a conference call while discussing the company’s third-quarter earnings. “We’re confident this innovation will expand both the reach and the equity of our brand.”
For years, Plank has declared “cotton is the enemy” to investors and customers.
WOW! Read the first line of that article again — “Cotton is no longer Under Armour Inc.’s enemy.” Seriously, that makes my day. And it is the sort of thing that we need to see a lot more of, if you ask me.
I see or hear equally hot words pop up all too often. In fact, a couple of weeks ago in a Twitter discussion — a forum founded on the idea of bringing different viewpoints together — I saw words like “bigot” and “invade” used to talked about people who believed differently and ways to counter those opinions. It’s still stuck with me today. And yet, had the words been better chosen, I would have most certainly agreed with the person’s viewpoint. The word “bigot” turned me off immediately so I can only imagine what it did for people who disagreed.
If you use a word that strong, you have to realize you have killed any productive conversation. You could be expressing your opinion on something totally unrelated but by showing a lack of acceptance of diversity, you make things black and white rather than allow for grays.
The fact is one word can make a difference between possibility of working together to being diametrically opposed to each other. At the end of the day, I just don’t see that as helping any of us. It’s easier not to make enemies to begin with if you ask me.