The Problem with Promotional T-shirts
Confession: I have a lot of promotional T-shirts—but I wear the majority of them as pajama tops.
It’s not about color, style, texture or unwieldy logos. It’s not even a matter of actually liking whatever organization, cause or movie the shirt supports.
When it comes to whether I actually will wear a promotional T-shirt out in the real world, it’s all about sizing.*
In my experience, quite often, campaigns, giveaways and promotions like to play the one-size-fits-all game. And that size is typically extra large. Does it fit me? Sure. Does it make me look like a pillowcase? Absolutely.
But pillowcase isn’t exactly the look I’m going for. (And trust me, wearing a pillowcase that is too big for you is not the same thing as wearing a T-shirt dress.)
Still, I collect my promotional tees. And I wear them to sleep.
But then something amazing happened. My family has season tickets to the Baltimore Orioles, so we make the drive to a lot of T-shirt Tuesdays—and in the last two years, the O’s have started to offer mediums in addition to extra-larges on their T-shirt giveaway days.
At long last, a medium! A shirt that I want to wear and can wear. A shirt that looks loose rather than like I’ve been drowned in fabric.
Now, I understand the thinking (and to some extent the benefits) behind offering a one-size-fits-all solution. But from an end-user’s perspective? Not so much.
Think about it:
Yes, technically an extra-large fits more people (because everyone who takes sizes extra-large and smaller can fit in it) than a medium, but it doesn’t fit everyone well. And when things don’t fit people well, they are less likely to wear them. And if people are less likely to wear the promotional shirt, then what good is it? No one will see it—the brand won’t be on anyone’s mind.
I’m not looking for shirts to be available in every size. But, just by offering two sizes, it would significantly increase the likelihood of people wearing the shirt a second, third, fourth, etc., time.
By offering an extra-large and medium, it provides shirts that can be worn comfortably by those who wear large and extra-large, and those who wear small and medium.
What do you think? Is it worth a try?
My overstuffed pajama drawer hopes so.
* Of course there are some exceptions. Well, actually only one comes to mind. The year before the Orioles started offering mediums and extra-larges, they gave away a T-shirt for my all-time favorite player, Nate McLouth. I swim in this shirt, but I love the design—and the person it’s supporting—enough to keep it in rotation (at least for baseball games).
Allison Ebner is content editor for Promo Marketing, NonProfit PRO and Print+Promo. Reference any animated movie, "Harry Potter" character or '80s band and you'll become fast friends.