Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A walking billboard

I was over reading the crazy Mrs Woog and how her t-shirts got printed with the wrong logo and it made me think about the whole crazy idea of branded clothing. I left a comment saying how I love branded clothing and all its wanky-ness. Because I do. The thought processes that go into designing them, how to distribute them and the want of them by people is intriguing.

The concept always works. Marketers decide to turn people into walking billboards and the people fight for the chance to do it, for free.

Brands like Billabong and Rip Curl perfected this so well that people started to pay huge cash to be able to be the billboard for them. Teenagers LOVE paying to be walking billboards. If it was the 90s you might have seen me paying my pocket money out each fortnight to be in an Espirit top and carrying a Sportsgirl bag, I would have loved to have the Country Road towel too, but I never saved up enough.

Back to the freebie marketing branded merchandise. If you ever watch home renovation shows and look at the staff helping in the background they are all wearing Bob's Plumbing or Jane's Painting t-shirts, the phone numbers are in BIG letters and they most likely have tops for people to 'win' later on.

Law firms and accountants 'sponsor' netball teams. When I say sponsor, I mean someone drags out ten t-shirts from the marketing cupboards and gives the team a branded top to wear and they call themselves the Suits R Us team. Every week other people see them and say "that's the Suits R Us team", they see the logo and they get a weekly reminder of where to go should they find themselves in the shit and need a lawyer.

While I was at uni I worked in a bar. We were given new t-shirts to wear from alcohol companies every second week. Usually they were in size extra extra large and the bouncers would be thrilled as they got stacks of t-shirts. Us girls pouring drinks had to tie them at the back and get that skanky bar maid look going on. These nights always increased sales in that particular brand of drink. Free t-shirts for staff = reminders of a certain bevvie to drinkers + a few free t-shirts to give out during the night = Profits.

Branded t-shirts are like a uniform for men to wear when mowing the lawn on Sunday in the suburbs. They are used to plug holes in pipes or clean the dog. No need to buy new night wear when you have a drawer of logo t-shirts to wear, they are perfect for sleeping in.

My favourite story about a branded t-shirt is my sisters. While some women go out and waste a $100 on something floral, fancy and feminine to wear for the birth of their baby, this is really not necessary. The logo t-shirt is the perfect option. Huge enough to wear over your preggy belly, happily thrown out the next day and totally free.

And that is how my first nephew arrived in this world. With his Mum happily wearing a t-shirt provided from days working behind the bar years beforehand, that screamed Galliano Liquer!

Have you got any branded t-shirt stories? Are you still paying to be a walking billboard for someone? 


  1. I loved them in my teens and early 20s. I even had the branded jeans and hats. haha! I had many a alcohol branded t-shirt and those tiny singlets too when I worked in bars!

    I recently moved on to the charity branded t-shirts for To Write Love On Her Arms, which I still love because I'm a design nerd and I love the designs they bring out and that it always seems to start a good conversation.

  2. I've never been a fan of branded clothing. Actually, I'm so cool someone told me they bought Ben Sherman pants recently and I asked "what does that mean?"

  3. Along with many other girls in the 90's my favourite was the sportsgirl tshirt!

  4. Oh man, I remember having a big cry after saving up for MONTHS for a Rip Curl jumper in the 90s, only to go in and buy it and they'd sold it. Huge cry!

  5. You know I actually will not wear any clothes that have brand names on them anymore - I used to be a big label junkie growing up. Oh hang on I lie, I proudly done my Prada sunglasses for all to see. But not clothes.

  6. What about the Country Road logo windcheater?! You were sooo rich and cool if you had one of those babies circa 1990!

    1. Yes! I know the exact one. I never had one but remember borrowing one of my friends at uni for a special occasion.

  7. OMG yes but not brand names. With this pregnancy I'm wearing a lot of my hubby's work t-shirts I seem to be promoting construction companies, concrete or cranes..

  8. Ah the nineties, when things could be completely casual and shapeless but still desirable with a brand name on them, I remember that Stussy beachpants were the must have black pant for school. They were 3 times the price of a generic brand but had the tiny tag showing they were the right brand so paying $70 for flimsy cotton was desirable! I talked mum into buying me a pair and I adored my Triple J t-shirt. I wore them to Pearl Jam (possibly the most nineties teen statement ever there) and I wore them to death. I am a bit embarrassed by visible branding now though and a bit of an apologist "Yes I know it's a Reebok top and Nike Yoga pants (tags on the outside you see) but I bought them in the op-shop."

  9. I have never been a walking billboard, but my Hubby is loud and proud! He mostly promotes bands.


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