Category: Ideas

Study lists the MVPs, or Most Valued Promos

Here at Gorilla Marketing, we’re always thinking about our customers. The thing is, that also means we have to think about their customers – the people who will actually receive the nifty swag we’re making. So we were super excited to see this new study from the Advertising Specialty Institute, a promo product trade organization that does research on industry trends.

The study was chock full of valuable information about what kinds of swag people like and how they use that swag as they go about their daily lives. Some highlights include:

  • 84{2204c5d06a2333403476cf9e3e7e547d79f3545ee5a4cb715bc6c3341feceb9f} said canvas is their favorite material for tote bags.
  • End-users prefer embroidery (33{2204c5d06a2333403476cf9e3e7e547d79f3545ee5a4cb715bc6c3341feceb9f}) over screen printing (18{2204c5d06a2333403476cf9e3e7e547d79f3545ee5a4cb715bc6c3341feceb9f}).
  • Black, blue, and white are the most popular apparel colors among adults, while kids and teens prefer brighter shades.
  • End-users will jump through hoops to get coveted swag: Over 80{2204c5d06a2333403476cf9e3e7e547d79f3545ee5a4cb715bc6c3341feceb9f} said they’d fill out a survey to get it, about 70{2204c5d06a2333403476cf9e3e7e547d79f3545ee5a4cb715bc6c3341feceb9f} said they’d visit a trade show booth, and 42{2204c5d06a2333403476cf9e3e7e547d79f3545ee5a4cb715bc6c3341feceb9f} would engage on a social network.
  • Three-fourths of people wear promotional t-shirts while running errands outside the home, increasing the number of eyeballs on the logo.
  • When people receive a promotional item from a high-end brand, they expect that the swag will be high-quality.
  • Women are more likely to keep and use a promotional tote bag than men, and 70{2204c5d06a2333403476cf9e3e7e547d79f3545ee5a4cb715bc6c3341feceb9f} of women use promo totes when shopping.
  • 5{2204c5d06a2333403476cf9e3e7e547d79f3545ee5a4cb715bc6c3341feceb9f} of male end-users have ever thrown a promotional mug or glass. We recommend choosing sturdy items.
  • Half of those surveyed never play with squeezable stress toys or other executive doodads.

Some of this pleasantly surprised us, and we’ll be keeping it in mind when suggesting products to our clients. After all, with promotional products, it’s all about the end-user’s reaction. You get the maximum return on investment when the items you give are appreciated, kept, and frequently used. Click here to contact us about your next promo project.

Graphic tees for good: Nonprofit fundraising idea

Threadless is one of our favorite graphic tee retailers, and we often look to them for inspiration on promo tee projects. They’ve definitely inspired us with their “Good Shirts” initiative, which takes an innovative twist on fundraising.

In their campaign to fight famine in the Horn of Africa, UNICEF put specific price tags on some of the ways they help. For example, deworming tablets cost $36.10, mosquito netting costs $18.57, and theraputic food costs $73.13. Then they created t-shirts for each of these items, with a simple graphic design showing the form of assistance. The deworming tablet t-shirt depicts a cartoonish worm (dead, of course), the mosquito netting t-shirt has a picture of the nasty disease-spreading bug, and so on. In partnership with Threadless, they are selling these shirts — each one priced according to the cost of the item printed on the shirt. And 100{2204c5d06a2333403476cf9e3e7e547d79f3545ee5a4cb715bc6c3341feceb9f} of the price goes to fight hunger in Africa. When you buy the mosquito netting shirt for $18.57, you know that UNICEF can buy mosquito netting for someone who needs it. The range of shirts goes all the way up to the “cargo drop” t-shirt, featuring an airplane, which costs $300,000. It may be the most expensive t-shirt of all time, but anyone who buys it knows how much good they’ve accomplished.

We think this has great potential for all kinds of fundraising. With a little creativity, any nonprofit can start a project like this. What can you do with $10, $20, $50, even $100? What are the costs of the services you provide? Brainstorm, and then come up with graphic representations of the concrete good your organization can do with different amounts of money. Create a line of t-shirts for donors. The shirts will remind people of the work your organization is doing, keeping them engaged and increasing repeat contributions. We can’t think of a better way to reach t-shirt loving milennials!

For conversations about branding, face-to-face is where it’s at

With social media’s rise, there’s been a lot of talk about “the conversation.” How many e-mail blasts have you gotten that invite you to follow a company on Facebook or Twitter so you can “join the conversation”? Probably quite a few. That’s because, as much as marketers and advertisers talk to consumers, they know that what really counts is how much consumers talk about their brand and branding. But are these conversations happening on social media sites?

A new study suggests that some are — but many, many more conversations about brands are taking place the old-fashioned way: face to face. Eighty-four percent of people have face-to-face conversations about brands, while just 35{2204c5d06a2333403476cf9e3e7e547d79f3545ee5a4cb715bc6c3341feceb9f} talk about brands on social media. Social media marketing author Jackie Huba says the lesson is “have an integrated approach to your marketing efforts.” In other words, don’t just rely on the latest social media trend.

We may be a teensy bit biased, but we think promotional products are a fantastic way to get people talking face-to-face about brands. An attractive, unique t-shirt can be a conversation starter, and someone may ask a friend where they got that blinged-out mug, unique custom flash drive, or luxurious messenger bag. Digital is great (heck, we love Facebook andTwitter), but for real-world conversations, real-world items can’t be beat.

Spotlight on T-Shirt Fabric

Throughout an average day, we get numerous quote requests for screenprinted t-shirts. We’ve noticed something: When we ask “What kind of t-shirt would you like?” the reply usually involves blank stares and silence. Many folks are not aware of the variety of t-shirts on the market and the subtle differences among them. Or they know there are options out there, but it’s all pretty overwhelming. Here are some of the key features that distinguish one t-shirt from another.

Fabric makeup

  • 100{2204c5d06a2333403476cf9e3e7e547d79f3545ee5a4cb715bc6c3341feceb9f} cotton: the original t-shirt fabric. Cotton fabric is easy to care for and holds color very well, but it is prone to shrinkage.
  • 50/50 cotton-poly blend: much less likely to shrink than 100{2204c5d06a2333403476cf9e3e7e547d79f3545ee5a4cb715bc6c3341feceb9f} cotton fabric. It also has some moisture-wicking properties.
  • 100{2204c5d06a2333403476cf9e3e7e547d79f3545ee5a4cb715bc6c3341feceb9f} polyester: perfect for the all-over printing process known as dye-sublimation. It can offer exceptional moisture management.
  • 50/25/25 tri-blend: adds rayon to the cotton-poly mix. Popularized by American Apparel, it stretches and drapes beautifully.

SporTek Competitor Tee

Cotton thread

  • Carded or combed: refers to the process of preparing the cotton for spinning. Carding cotton removes the tangles from the fibers, but it does not ensure that all of the fibers are going in the same direction. Combing is an additional step that aligns the fibers, producing a smoother thread and softer fabric. Smoother fabrics make a better canvas for screenprinting.
  • Open-ended or ring-spun: describes the spinning method. Open-ended thread is cost-effective and produces a fairly soft and sturdy fabric, while ring-spun thread is smoother, tighter, and softer.
  • Singles: the gauge of the thread. As the number gets bigger, the thread gets thinner. An 18-singles fabric is made of fairly thick thread, while a 40-singles fabric is made of very fine thread. Thinner thread makes the fabric (you guessed it) smoother and softer.


Fabric weight tells you how thick the shirt is. Promotional t-shirts are often 6.1 oz., meaning they are fairly heavy. Some examples of 6.1 oz. shirts include the Hanes Beefy T, the Fruit of the Loom Lofteez, and the Gildan Ultra Cotton. Another common weight is around 5.5 oz. The latest retail trend is for fine jersey, weighing in around 4.5 oz., and even lighter tissue jerseys that are sheer rather than opaque. The lighter the shirt, the better it drapes on the body.

Bella Marcelle T-Shirt


  • Organic cotton: Like organic fruits and vegetables, organic cotton is grown without the most harmful pesticides. Some t-shirts are made of transitional-organic cotton, meaning the farm is in the process of going organic but has not yet achieved certification.
  • Recycled cotton: generally made from scraps left over from the garment-making process. The fabric is shredded, carded, and turned back into thread.
  • Eco blends: Organic or recycled cotton may be combined with recycled polyester for those who prefer a blend.

How does all of this affect price? Usually, the least expensive t-shirt is going to be a midweight 100{2204c5d06a2333403476cf9e3e7e547d79f3545ee5a4cb715bc6c3341feceb9f} cotton shirt, made of open-ended 18-singles cotton that wasn’t grown organically and wasn’t combed before spinning. One example of this is the Gildan Heavy Cotton t-shirt. As you add more features and the shirt gets softer and smoother, the price goes up.

We love our basic, budget t-shirts and think they’re great for lots of promotional projects. But sometimes you want to give something exceptional. Maybe you want to really impress a client or communicate how much you value an employee. Perhaps you’re trying to create a shirt that will be worn again and again, and know that retail quality is a must for maximizing impressions. If your brand is high-end, only a high-end t-shirt will do. Contact us today and we’ll help you select the perfect screenprinted t-shirt for your promotional project.

Pink Promos for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

To anyone whose life has been affected by breast cancer, October is an important month. People all over the world participate in events aimed at helping people to understand the disease and raising money for research and treatment.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women around the world, and can affect men as well. The treatment methods available improved by leaps and bounds during the 20th century, thanks in large part to activists who pushed for less invasive procedures and encouraged breast cancer patients to seek second opinions. Their legacy continues today as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is traditionally commemorated in October.

Pink ribbons were first used to symbolize the breast cancer cause in 1991. Since then, pink – traditionally a feminine color associated with hope and positivity – has become the recognized hue for breast cancer awareness. Landmarks are illuminated in pink light to remind women to have regular mammograms and fundraising events often include pink décor and pink apparel. They may feature slogans like “Think Pink” and “Fight Like a Girl,” or play with risque double-entendres to attract attention.

If you’re sponsoring a breast cancer awareness event or fundraising promotion, you may want to incorporate a giveaway of some sort. This keepsake will emphasize the message of screening, research, and support for people with breast cancer. And, of course, it will show that your company is committed to the cause. Now that’s marketing money well spent.

The Hanes Cool Dri moisture-wicking tee and Bella Bernadette Burnout tee both come in shades of pink.

The Hanes Cool Dri moisture-wicking tee and Bella Bernadette Burnout tee both come in shades of pink.

The obvious choice is a pink t-shirt or polo that’s been screenprinted, sublimated, or embroidered with an awareness message and your logo. For a walk, run, or bike ride, consider a garment with performance features like moisture-wicking fabric. If sweat isn’t an issue, then a delicate feminine-cut burnout tee is a great piece that will be worn again and again. Don’t forget men’s styles for the guys — real men wear pink!

Water bottles are another great option for marathons and fundraising walks. Just remember to choose a BPA-free option, since that chemical has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer. Other good choices includelanyards, caps, and lip balms or sunscreens.Keychains and pens in elegant gift boxes make great gifts for donors, and because they’ll be used frequently, they’re very effective at keeping the awareness message on people’s minds.

When designing your awareness-themed item, consider including important information about the disease. Risk factors, early symptoms, screening tips, and so on are things people need to know. Our art department can help you decide what to include and how to place it for maximum impact.