Spinrite’s solution for the ‘yarn barf’ problem

From Wisk’s ring around the collar to Febreze’s nose blindness, companies have been working tirelessly for decades to give name—and, more importantly, a solution—to the various maladies and conditions that have bedevilled consumers over the years.

Now the Listowel, Ont. based company Spinrite has come up with a solution for the enduring problem of “yarn barf,” the mess of tangled fabric that has plagued knitters/crocheters for as long as they’ve been picking up needles.

Along with jigsaw puzzles and bread-making, knitting was another “old-timey” activity that saw a marked increase in popularity during the pandemic. That led to a growing number of discoveries of “yarn barf,” particularly among the estimated 20% of people picking up needles for the first time.

“Yarn barf” is the number one customer complaint in the knitting category, capable of halting knitters’ progress, momentum and enjoyment, said Denise Darragh, Spinrite’s senior vice-president of marketing.

Spinrite’s research found that 80% of customers wanted tangle-free yarn, with 61% indicating they would stitch more frequently if a product capable of addressing the problem of “yarn barf” existed.

Spinrite, North America’s largest manufacturer and marketer of craft knitting yarns, has introduced a new product called the O’Go that it claims provides users with a tangle-free knitting experience. “It’s creativity unleashed,” says the O’Go’s launch campaign, developed by Toronto agency Church+State.

Spinrite has tended to rely on a robust influencer network for its marketing, but reached out to Church+State to explore something bigger. “The [O’Go] is actually quite significant and could completely disrupt the category, so they knew they needed more than just a social post… to launch the format,” said president and CEO Robin Whalen.

It proved a decidedly unique remit that Whalen and Church+State founder and chief creative officer Ron Tite couldn’t resist.

“This is an agency’s dream,” said Whalen. “It doesn’t matter what the category is, when you’re introducing a new format or product that can disrupt an entire category… I don’t care if you’re selling cars, financial institutions or yarn, you don’t often get the opportunity where a client says ‘Be as big and bold as you can.'”

The launch ad for the O’Go features two millennial-age women sitting across from one another and preparing to knit. One of the women is overwhelmed by the mass of yarn in her lap, while the other, working with an O’Go, proceeds to effortlessly knit a stack of colourful wool hats.

“The premise is to show how the innovation completely disrupts knitting as you know it,” said Whalen. “We didn’t want to critique the category [Spinrite] is in because they have traditional products, so it was really about inspiring knitters to do more, have more fun and eliminate frustrations. And the end result of that is more knitting.”

Church+State also developed what Whalen described as a “brand playbook” for Spinrite that includes a new colour palette and visual identity that is being rolled out in-store.

Chris Powell