There are a few things in this world that are universally loved, and almost all of them begin with the same word: “free.” Free food, free drinks, free tickets… it’s impossible to find anyone who will turn this stuff down. But there is one free item that trumps them all. I am of course referring to free t-shirts.
More specifically, I’m talking about free t-shirts shot out of cannons. You’ve probably seen these fantastic devices employed at sporting events: typically a mascot, cheerleader, or random pumper-upper guy gallivants around with a potato gun in hand, riling up the crowd by firing t-shirts into the upper decks. For some reason that continues to baffle modern science, people go absolutely berserk for these things.
No one knows exactly where the t-shirt cannon originated (although you can check out this Bud Light commercial for some background on the inventor), but there is no doubt that it is an excellent marketing ploy. With minimal investment, a sports franchise can achieve three goals simultaneously: revving the crowd, increasing consumer loyalty, and getting free advertising from whoever ends up catching the shirt and wearing it around.
But with a tool this good, why stop at sporting events? I think the t-shirt cannon use should be expanded into other public domains. Maude Flanders incident aide, these launchers are clearly perfectly safe. Imagine cool t-shirts featuring your company’s logo whizzing through the air in city parks, on college campuses, or at the beach. You could be selling anything from antacid to cranberry sauce: crowds would still gather if there is t-shirt artillery involved. If you launch it, they will come.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to this magical marketing device. T-shirt gunmen could be concealed atop a building and you could use social media to inform fans where and when the launching will occur. Promos could be initiated earning discounts for customers wearing the launched t-shirts. A series of t-shirts could be launched and fans could win something for “collecting them all.”
Who knows where the future of the t-shirt cannon will lead us, but I can’t wait to be there, wearing a catcher’s mitt.
Contributed by Jake Navarro. Follow him @JakeMNavarro
Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, user: Slgckgc