The first thing that comes to mind when we think "promotional give away" is branded t-shirts.
However, that branding is usually not seen outside of the bathroom or bedroom, where the consumer will usually wear it. Most people do not regard promotional t-shirts as something that they will willingly wear out in public for a few reasons:It looks cheap:
No one wants to be seen in a cheap looking t-shirt, where the material is not of good quality and it is quite visible that the t-shirt was a free handout. Unfashionable:
Fashion is trendy, with clothing being the core of it all. Therefore people want to be seen wearing cool, trendy design outfits whereas plain-boxed shaped t-shirts do not cut it. There are so many t-shirt shapes and fits but a variety to choose from that suits the consumer's style is an option that they do not have when dealing with these free t-shirts. In short, the t-shirts are just not aspirational or trendy enough to want to wear outside of their homes.
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In many cases the available sizes are large, extra large, or double extra large - the perfect sizes comfortable enough for one to slip in just before getting into bed. There is often no form-fitting size for the majority and are therefore discouraged to wear the t-shirt as it will be too big for them.Branding:
No one wants to look like a walking billboard or poster when wearing a branded t-shirt - especially one that is not even a clothing fashion brand. Brands are so focused on making the brand name stand out that they forget about the over all look of the shirt itself.
The t-shirt will still be a favourable option to consider when driving your promotions and handouts, however there are a few points to consider before even printing them:
1. What is your objective? - Don't give out t-shirts for the sake of just handing out a free item. Consider how much appeal you would like your brand to gain from the sample shirt.
2. Consider your target market - Each brand has a defined market and this should give you an idea on the look and style of your t-shirt. On the broader scale, you should at least know what the gender skew is. In that way, you will be able to determine the right shape for your t-shirts. The age of your target market will also give you a sense of how trendy your shirts must look. E.g. Youth
3. Aspirations and lifestyle - Make it fashionable and something that you yourself would want to walk around the mall in.
4. Brand - Give your t-shirt a sense of character through your brand character. E.g: If your brand essence is about redefining the norm, then let your t-shirts do the same.
It is not about turning your brand/company into a clothing design company or starting a fashion label however, some thought needs to be taken when considering to give out sample shirts for promotions. We need to think about the person that will be wearing that shirt and how much appeal it will have for them when wearing it.
Brands are not one-dimensional; so much work is put into building a brand essence, brand personality and appeal. That should not only be limited to a few brand communication platforms, but should be consistent throughout all your brand touch points including items as small as mere t-shirts.