'Idafornia' Custom T-shirt Sparks Tense Online War
If there's one thing we know at Promo Marketing, it's that a T-shirt is not just a T-shirt. Oftentimes, T-shirts unintentionally spark furious controversies. Fanatics had to suspend a T-shirt over one such controversy, Amazon was in the hot seat over one of its T-shirts, and Zara had to pull one of its T-shirts after a petition circulated. Flash forward to present day, and a T-shirt meant to invoke laughter has actually provoked outrage.
According to SFGATE, Idaho artist Scott Pentzer came up with the idea for his "Idafornia" T-shirt in 2014, but he did not start printing the T-shirt until recently.
— SFGATE (@SFGate) January 12, 2019
"I didn't think it would sell, so it just laid dormant," Pentzer told SFGATE. "But recently I've been talking to people, and I noticed California resentment was coming up in conversations a lot more than it used to."
Pentzer, a Nampa, Idaho resident, decided to print his "Idafornia" T-shirts as a funny way to highlight the fact that Californians were moving to Idaho in droves—21,000 of them in 2017 alone.
Pentzer shared a photo of one of his children wearing the "Idafornia" shirt, and after two hours, a heated social media war was already picking up. Pentzer said Idaho natives who thought he was a Californian were the angriest, and that they assumed he designed the shirts to celebrate the transplants. Meanwhile, the Californians thought the T-shirts were created to mock them.
The artist quickly deleted the post, but the damage was done. The shirt found its way onto Reddit, where the debate continued.
"It tapped into a nerve or something," Pentzer said. "I know [California transplant resentment] is out there a bit, from some of the stories I heard. But I never knew Idahoans hated Californians that much."
Apparently, the T-shirt was the latest installment in a feud between locals and transplants. Because Californians are driving up housing prices and changing certain dynamics in Idaho, not everyone is happy with their new west coast neighbors. But, Pentzer hopes this T-shirt will force everyone to come to an understanding.
As usual, we have to highlight the power of the T-shirt. Never underestimate the branded T-shirt's ability to bring people together, as well as tear people apart.