News & Views

Faribault Woollen Mill / Weaving in Emotion

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our customisable research platform featuring the world’s most innovative, creative and effective campaigns and marketing ideas

To commemorate its 150th anniversary, Faribault Woollen Mill – a Minnesota-based purveyor of fine woollen goods – has launched a website that preserves memories for future blanket owners.

With the insight that the company’s blankets last for generations and become heirlooms that families pass on, Faribault created The Memory Mill - a website where people can leave digital messages for their loved ones when they gift them a Faribault product.

Every new Faribault blanket or throw comes with a metal tag that features a Memory Mill ID number. When customers enter that number on the Memory Mill website, they are invited to create Memory Threads: digital messages that stay with their Faribault blankets for the rest of their lives. On the Memory Mill website, customers can write letters that will be sealed until the blanket’s new owner retrieves them.

Before people write their message, they have to enter the name of the blanket’s future intended owner and when they are expected to receive the blanket. For example, perhaps it will be passed on when that person finishes renovating their home or when they start college.

When someone writes a letter, every keystroke is recorded, thus letting the new recipient not only read the message but also how it was written – every pause for thought, every reconsidered phrase. Customers can also edit, add notes or retrieve their messages if they wish.

The campaign was developed by advertising agency Fallon. 

Contagious Insight

Elevating the everyday / When you can get a similar product for as little as $10, persuading consumers to invest in a $280 blanket can be a challenge. Faribault Woollen Mill has used a smart insight – that customers have emotional attachments to their blankets – to give its products a heritage status. Similarly to luxury watches, Faribault Woollen Mill is characterising its products as heirlooms to help justify their premium price point. Consider the Patek Philippe watch ads depicting photos of fathers and sons or mothers and daughters, with the tagline: ‘You never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation.’ The same principle is at work here. And by branding its blankets and throws heirlooms, The Memory Mill is also a testament to the company’s belief in the quality and longevity of its products.

All the feels / This is a sweet initiative that deepens the relationship between the blanket and its owner, making it much more personal. It reminds us of HIUT Denim’s History Tag, a similar system where owners could record digital memories of their jeans creating an online life for the product that could be shared with future owners. But arguably, it’s much more likely that parents would want to share a family blanket with their kids than an old pair of jeans. And while some people might simply hold on to a blanket for further generations, by imbuing its products with additional sentiment in the form of digital messages Faribault is also encouraging people to purchase new blankets as thoughtful gifts.

Faribault Memory Mill

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O. Contagious I/O is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious I/O contact