This is not a new concept but it is a tried and true marketing vehicle that does work if you use it correctly. T-shirt marketing can build brand awareness with those in your industry. I’m going to share with you how one of my clients uses it to build his brand awareness with his target audience in the construction industry.
Rather than give away t-shirts to the general public, these t-shirts are given specifically to a variety of construction workers. The recipients of the t-shirts then wear them on job sites creating a buzz with other construction workers, subcontractors and general contractors who see them. And of course, the artwork is printed on bright yellow or orange t-shirts, which are safety colors, making them perfect for use on job sites.
My client sells products and installation services of reinforcing steel, better known as rebar. He started with a great idea for a business mascot. He hired me to create a barbarian character called The Rebarbarian that he could trademark and use as his company mascot. The marketing idea was to create a new T-shirt to give away each year, slowly and steadily building the brand and audience appreciation for The Rebarbarian’s yearly appearances.
Designing the Character
First we discussed the character in detail (product attributes he would represent, character’s physical attributes, expressions, cartoon style, clothing, and several other points of interest). Once he was defined, I then designed a character to include these physical attributes and embody the product attributes of strength. We chose a comic book style of cartooning as that was sure to appeal to the targeted workers in the construction industry that would wear the t-shirts as they worked on the job site.
T-shirt Marketing Campaign
Our campaign began with an initial T-shirt design (2016) introducing The Rebarbarian mascot character along with the text of “The Inception”. With some slight modifications and additions to the art, the client was able to reuse some of the artwork for the t-shirt and obtain new artwork to print a poster of The Rebarbarian Inception concept. The idea of the posters would be to frame each one and showcase them around his office thus reinforcing his brand and the mascot’s existence with employees and visiting potential customers.
The next year (2017) a new t-shirt design was created featuring The Rebarbarian again and the newest business concept the client wanted to share with his audience. Again, with some slight modifications and additional labor, the client was again able to reuse much of the artwork illustrated for the t-shirt and have me create new artwork to print another poster of this year’s concept for only a little more cost.