You could take pretty much every T-shirt ever made and place it into one of three categories: plain, generic, and branded. Of the three, branded is the category most loved by marketers. In fact, branded T-shirts are a marketer’s gold mine. They bring in money in multiple ways.
For the purposes of this post, a plain T-shirt is one that offers no graphics or printed messages. A generic T-shirt is one with generic graphics or messages. Finally, a branded T-shirt is one sporting a graphic image or message tied to a particular brand.
If you are a football fan, pick your favorite NFL team. Any T-shirt bearing that team’s logo is a branded T-shirt. The brand is the team’s brand. If the shirt also includes the NFL logo, you have a second brand there.
Also note that branded T-shirts do not have to feature well-known brands the entire world is familiar with. For example, there is a New York City company that sells LatinX T-shirts, apparel, and artwork. They go by the name of Plurawl. You might not know the brand, but plenty of loyal customers do.
T-Shirts Are Free Advertising
So, what is it that marketers love about branded T-shirts? For starters, they represent free advertising. It can cost a pretty penny to advertise on a highway billboard or a city bus. Sell several thousand branded T-shirts and you get similar exposure for free. The only money you spent is that which you paid to have the T-shirts made. But you recover that money through T-shirt sales.
The thing about branded T-shirts is that they can show up anywhere. Marketers know that volume equals exposure. The more branded T-shirts they can get into the hands of loyal customers, the further and wider their marketing message will spread.
Marketers also love branded T-shirts because they represent licensing opportunities. What does that mean? It means a smaller company like Plurawl must purchase a license if they want to use another company’s images or trademarked slogans. Every license sold equals money in the pocket of the company that issues it.
Licensing is one of the reasons the NFL makes so much money. Every T-shirt, coffee mug, and hat manufacturer who wishes to utilize league images must purchase a license from the league. The NFL collects licensing fees and gets a certain cut of the sales revenue. Not a bad deal, is it?
Perfect for Testing
One last thing to consider is that marketers sometimes use T-shirts as a way to test marketing messages. They are the perfect venue because they provide almost instant feedback. Simply put, consumers will not purchase a T-shirt with a marketing message they don’t like. So if a company prints up several thousand and quickly figures out they aren’t selling, they know to kill that message.
Likewise, T-shirts are a lot like videos in that they can go viral very quickly. Come up with a hot T-shirt and it will spread like wildfire. One person sees another wearing it and decides he has to have it. Before long, everyone is wearing that particular T-shirt. The message is a winner, and the marketer knows it.
Are you an avid T-shirt wearer? If so, do you prefer branded products? Every branded T-shirt you wear represents a marketer who is thrilled to bits about your clothing choices. You choosing to wear branded T-shirts equates to helping marketers do their jobs more effectively. And in the end, that’s why marketers love branded T-shirts so much. T-shirts with the right message are a proven commodity that get results.