The Coolest T-Shirt Marketing Campaigns We’ve Seen — And What Results They Got

T-shirt marketing can be a great tool for your company to really get the word out about your products and create buzz online. Recently, some major brand and companies have been getting really creative with their t-shirt marketing and used bulk t-shirt printing to lead to some really amazing results. Maybe these campaigns will inspire you to start your own t-shirt marketing movement!

#5 Coca Cola’s t-shirt giveaway machine

Coca Cola put a t-shirt giveaway machine at three of the busiest rail stations in London. The machines gave the users a free tee if they sent out a tweet using the hashtag #ChooseHappiness and saying which type of Coca Cola was their favourite. The machine would then dispense a t-shirt in a tube along with a free Coke. There was a different colour tee for each type of the soft drink available.

Railway travellers started tweeting about the shirts and how excited they were to receive them, leading to lots of really positive online messages about Coca Cola.

The machine was moved from Waterloo to Paddington Station and finally King’s Cross, making sure it got the message out to lots of different people. The tweet-powered machine formed part of the larger “Choose Happiness” campaign, which also included free bags, branded taxis, and taste tests at major transportation stations, along with a section of their website dedicated to all things happiness-related.

#4 Mailchimp’s 1,000 free tees

In 2009, Mailchimp decided to give away 1,000 free tees to their social media followers. They figured it would be a fun way to get the word out about a new plan they were launching and give something nice to their fans at the same time. They started giving away the shirts in batches, asking their users to follow them on social media to find out when a new batch would be available.

In just two and a half minutes, they gave away 100 shirts, with users tweeting plenty about the giveaway, which created major buzz about the brand.

The giveaway was such a hit that they repeated it again in 2010, with similar results. In under 5 minutes, they’d easily manage to give away 50 or 100 t-shirts. For this version of the giveaway, Mailchimp decided to give away 1,000 of the shirts on social media (Facebook and Twitter) and another 4,000 via their app. They also encouraged users to sign up for the newsletter by including insider tips about when to expect upcoming giveaways.

#3 Breast cancer fundraiser in Spain fills the streets with pink tees

Spanish water brand Font Vella organises a women’s marathon. It’s become the biggest event in women’s sports in Europe and happens in 8 different cities across Spain, with over 100,000 runners lacing up their shoes to supper the fight against breast cancer.

All the runners get a bright pink t-shirt to wear during the race, meaning that anybody who walks through the street of one of the 8 cities on the day of the race pretty much can’t miss them. They also publish photos on their sponsors’ websites, like Cosmopolitan magazine, and encourage the runners to share the images on social media using the event hashtag #EresFuerza.

With such an attention-grabbing colour for the event t-shirts plus so many runners participating, the word definitely gets out about the marathon — and the brands like Font Vella that support it.

#2 Single Grain’s t-shirt giveaway that earned them $980K

It might sound counter-intuitive, but online marketing company Single Grain managed to make a ton of money by giving away t-shirts for free!

It started when their CEO, Sujan Patel, printed out a handful of t-shirts so he would have something easy and comfortable to wear to work (and avoid clothes shopping in the process). He had a few extras, so he posted on Facebook asking who would want one. Patel created an e-mail list of those friends, then sent them t-shirts. His friends started wearing the shirts around town and getting the world out.

Patel noticed that people were hearing about Single Grain through the t-shirts. So he started giving people not just 1 shirts, but 4 or 5. Eventually, there were over 500 people walking around town and going to work wearing Single Grain tees — and creating huge name recognition and brand familiarity.

Patel says the shirts have helped him start conversations with clients, including one who hired him for a $50,000 job while they were getting massages!

Today, the whole Single Grain team wears the tees and they keep things fresh with new tees once or twice a year, which then they send out to their e-mail list, who then walk around with their new swag on, getting the word out — you get the picture, right?

#1 O2’s rugby shirt giveaway

To promote England’s rugby team during the 2015 Rugby World Cup, O2 started a campaign called “Wear the Rose”. They hung up 50,000 England rugby t-shirts with a red rose sewn on the chest all around the U.K. on washing lines. The lines were placed at three metres high, which is how tall an average line-out is in a game of rugby.

If fans did their own rugby line-up, they had a chance to win one of the shirts. They could also send out a tweet with the hashtag #WearTheRose to enter prize drawings for the shirts, or use O2’s iBeacon service with a tour around the U.K. When the tour arrived as a user’s city, they’d get a notification and could get a tee by tapping on the location.

The year-long campaign got tons of fans involved in the campaign online — even though England did end up getting knocked out of the World Cup during the group stage (oops). They had events like themed challenges and pre- and post-match television spots. O2 says the campaign results in over 5 million acts of support for the England rugby team.

As you can see, t-shirt marketing can be a really effective tool for marketing your brand, whether that’s by simply giving away t-shirts like Single Grain or using them as part of a larger campaign like Coca Cola or O2.

What do you think about using t-marketing for promoting your company? Let us know in the comments!