The popularity of the blood donor t-shirt can be mystifying to those of us who have been in the industry a few years. I used to find that it was blood center staff who grew tired of the monthly t-shirt…and not donors. Because the reality is that blood donors love those t-shirt gifts because they are a means to not only express their pride in being a lifesaving donor, but also to ignite conversation and, ultimately, recruit more people to give blood. They are WALKING BILLBOARDS…and recently, I got a glimpse into just how well they do their job!
I walked into gymnastics practice to pick up my son a few weeks ago here in Chesapeake, Virginia, and I noticed a fellow parent wearing a 9/11 blood donor t-shirt with the Coastal Bend Blood Center logo on it! I know the amazing team in Coastal Bend, so this, of course, peaked my interest. I asked him if he was from Corpus Christie…and we shared our stories. I talked to him about working in a blood center on that fateful day. And he talked to me about his military service, donating after the tragedy and still being a committed blood donor to this day. It got me thinking about how just seeing this shirt sparked a conversation about saving lives and about the longevity of the branding power of the t-shirt.
When you think about it, no other advertising medium has the ability to promote your brand and mission the way a t-shirt does. Nearly 15 years after this man received this gift, he was STILL wearing it and talking about it. That t-shirt is still doing its job of promoting the ongoing need for blood. What was probably less than a $2 investment at the time, has likely been seen by thousands of people who then thought about donating blood themselves.
We have all seen these tees…either while walking on the treadmill at the gym, perusing the aisles of our local supermarket, psyching ourselves up to get on that roller coaster, or tuning into our favorite news broadcast, when we have spotted it. That shirt…that one we remember ordering …designing…giving out to donors…or wearing ourselves. Just seeing it on someone reminds us instantly that we need to go give blood! Your donors are your brand ambassadors.
The take away here? When you invest in t-shirts, you are investing in your brand, in your blood center and in your mission to save lives not just for that campaign or blood drive….but for years to come. In an age when it’s easy to become numb to online banners, pop up ads, and text messages….what other advertising medium gives you that much bang for your buck?
We are a full service promotional products vendor, offering a million different imprinted products. But in the blood industry, the best way to get your message walking around town…continues to be….that brand new, crisp donor t-shirt.