When most people think of a widespread company marketing campaign, they imagine ads, posters, commercials, and radio spots, all touting one common catchphrase that will (ideally) stay in consumers’ minds. But what about the tangible elements that can also become a part of a successful marketing campaign? Branded apparel can become a powerful physical extension of a marketing campaign, bringing a consumer-driven element to the campaign that will cause it to become more widespread than with ads alone.
The hip catchphrase
The marketing campaigns that lend themselves most naturally to having branded apparel are those that have smart, humorous, or particularly memorable catchphrases. A marketing campaign is more likely to travel with the people when it is something that they will take pride in wearing. The soda brand 7 Up, for example, ran a campaign in the late 1990s fronted by actor and comedian Orlando Jones, which touted sarcastically that the new slogan for 7 Up was to be “Make 7 Up Yours.” The catchphrase, of course, when adapted to a tee-shirt format with two words printed on each side, resulted comically in an accidental insult displayed on the back of the shirt. This made the iconic “Make 7 Up Yours” tee-shirt a popular commodity among teens, and the company even had thousands of amused consumers calling them asking where they could buy the “Make 7 Up Yours” tee-shirt. Just a year after the campaign began, over half a million tee-shirts had entered the mainstream. Meanwhile, 7 Up could point to a 142% increase in unaided brand awareness with 12- to-24-year olds in the same time frame. The campaign, which ran from 1999 to 2005, was one of 7 Up’s longest running campaigns.
The creative design
Other branded apparel enters the mainstream simply because it is well-designed. Most recently, for example, Google Fiber has been making free regional Google Fiber tee-shirts available to locals who fill out a short form with their address and email address, which will also subscribe them to receive email updates about Google Fiber advancements in their area. The demand for these free shirts is not driven by a fancy catchphrase, however; it is their design—coupled with the fact that they are free, of course—that makes them appealing to the public. Each shirt is dark grey in color and features a silhouette of a U.S. state made up of small white circles, with the circles located at a particular city’s location colored blue, red, green, and yellow. The shirts are being used to generate hype about Google Fiber coming to particular cities around the U.S.
How might branded apparel become a part of your next marketing campaign?