Ermenegildo Zegna chief executive Gildo Zegna and chairman Paolo Zegna at the 50th anniversary celebrations in Sydney on April 23.
THE controversial Zegna initiative has so far generated more than $26 million in global media and public relations spin-off, according to Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).
In April this year Australian wool was placed in the global spotlight when Ermenegildo Zegna - one of the single largest buyers of Australian Merino wool - travelled to Australia with a 150-strong media pack from 31 countries to honour the 50th edition of the Ermenegildo Zegna Wool Awards.
Ermenegildo Zegna, in partnership with AWI, hosted a two day celebration which included a farm tour to seven superfine wool growing properties in NSW's New England, followed by a gala event held at the historic Royal Hall of Industries, Sydney.
The elaborate affair had its critics given the current suppressed superfine wool market, but AWI chief executive officer Stuart McCullough believed the global publicity the event generated was a solid return on investment.
"We are increasingly becoming an event-based PR company and we are relying on the events we hold to draw attention to the wool fibre," Mr McCullough said.
"We are focusing on less paid advertising and more earned advertising," he said.