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I’m (Still) With Stupid T-Shirts – Part II

After reading a recent article written by Charles Manning for Cosmopolitan, I was immediately taken back to my original t-shirt blog and how easily designers and creators of clothes can be judged for what they put on their apparel. For designer Christopher Lee Sauve, placing an image on a simple tee in 2010 that read “Nothing Tastes As Good As Skinny Feels” was supposed to highlight artistic ability and the stupidity behind the phrase Kate Moss made so horribly famous a year earlier.

Kate Moss Slogan T Shirt

It should not come as surprise to us though, that the exact opposite occurred. He said in the article that Hudson’s Bay, who carries his line, pulled the shirts off the rack right away once the controversy made national attention. According to Sauve, anti-supporters of the shirt would go up to people on the street and ask them, “What do you think of this pro-anorexia t-shirt?’” Sauve lashes back in the article, saying, “No one was doing any research about me or my work. No one even bothered to just ask me, what does this mean?”

This is exactly the statement that brings me back to my original blog post and how I had mentioned that I believe the words or phrases illustrated on apparel should be able to speak for itself. We are, in a visual way, giving our clothes a voice without ever having to utter a single word.

QUESTION: Should these designers be surprised when someone interprets a phrase printed on a shirt negatively or just not the way they intended?

THE ANSWER? Absolutely NOT.

People are going to read a slogan or phrase on a t-shirt, and they are going to get the most literal part from it. That is what will stick with them and either turn them away, or bring them in. The shirts with the recycle symbol, the shirt that reads “Got Milk?” and the shirts with a peace sign on them–these all scream simple points. These are the fashion statements that succeed. The phrase in question, no matter how you spin it, is promoting eating disorders. The only meaning, unless more words or an X crossed out through the phrase is added, is that you will be skinny, and feel good about it if you don’t eat. If Sauve wanted to illustrate how ridiculous the phrase is, he should have added something, ANYTHING that would have made that clear. To me, the shirt is no different than putting the phrase on the red carpet with all of its glitz and glam and giving it an Oscar. In what I believe was an attempt to back pedal and take back the meaning behind the original design, Sauve later created a new shirt with the phrase “Kate Moss called, she wants her shirt back in all sizes.”

QUESTION: If Sauve can be this creative the 2nd time around, why couldn’t he come up with something better the first time around?

THE ANSWER? Perhaps he did exactly what he wanted to do the first time.

That’s right. I believe that Christopher Lee Sauve liked the phrase because it was used by one of the hottest models on the planet and because he thought it could reach a young, beautiful market. Are there people out there who will purchase this shirt because they are slim, trim, egotistical, superficial sheep? Of course! Well played, Mr Sauve. It was only until the shirt attracted national attention for being controversial that Sauve insisted he did not promote anorexia. I highly doubt that if the shirt was still available for sale that he would have created the Kate Moss round two shirt. The same props go to Urban Outfitters who marketed shirts the same year that read “ Eat Less” to promote thin is the new in. It was only a few short months before they too, had the shirts removed from the line due to the controversy and negative publicity [2]. urban-outfitters-eat-less-tshirt-636 If we talk about all of the lines UO came out with that are offensive though, you would be reading a novel here, so let’s move along. Can only the artist be held accountable here though? Aren’t designers really just artists using clothes instead of canvases to unleash their creativity?

QUESTION: Shouldn’t the consumer know what they are promoting and then be fair game for judging by their fellow peers?

THE ANSWER? Without a doubt YES!!!!

Fashion at first glance, and appearance can speak volumes whether you are just meeting someone or have known them your whole life. Just as I mentioned in the first t-shirt blog, I believe that the person wearing the “I’m with stupid” t-shirt should know that instead of making the person standing beside him look dumb, the opposite is actually what is happening. The shirt makes the wearer look like a jerk. You as a consumer should know what you are wearing, even if the logo or slogan itself is not offensive, it is important to know as much as possible about the designers and their labels before parading it around town. For example, I judge my sister all the time for wearing Abercrombie and Fitch clothes because the negative or offensive meaning is actually behind the company’s CEO, not the clothes. Mike Jefferies uses his marketing power to target just the “cool kids,” repeatedly saying,“ I don’t want our core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing our clothing.” (This is particularly ironic if you have ever actually seen this guy.) His look most definitely leaves something to be desired…a look that appears to be the product of countless efforts to produce a younger image through artificial means such as plastic surgery. Just to be clear on the imagery…

abercrombie-studmike-jeffries-AF-CEO

 

^ THIS IS MIKE JEFFRIES

“Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive, all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes] and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.” –Mike Jefferies, interview with Salon Magazine 2006.

Oh, need to land a summer job to pay for college? Don’t even THINK about working at any of his stores unless you are professional model material. Seriously dude, how are you still with the company? Call it coincidence, but Business Insider stated the company’s U.S. sales had dropped 18% in the 3rd quarter of last year. [3]

The moral of the story folks, this is America, and we do thrive on individuality and the freedom to wear what we want. My advice though, is to know inside and out what you are wearing, because you are not just supporting a trend, or wearing it “cause it feels good.” You are advertising, promoting, and directly supporting said attire and everything it stands for. Do your homework and choose wisely so you can always wear what you love, and love what you wear.

 


[1] Manning, Charles. “Artist Stands by His Controversial “Skinny” T-Shirt.” Cosmopolitan Magazine. 27 Jun.2014. Web. 18 Jul. 2014.

[2] Greig, Alex. “Urban Outfitters Under Fire For Selling T-Shirt Glamorizing Depression-Just Two Years After Being Forced to Pull Another With Slogan ‘Eat Less.’” Mail Online. 5 Jan. 2014. Web. 18 Jul. 2014.

[3] Peterson, Hayley. “Abercrombie Strips CEO Mike Jefferies Of His Role As Chairman.” Business Insider. 28 Jan. 2014. Web. 18 Jul. 2014.

TV Commercials That Make Me Flip – Literally!

With the booming popularity of DVR’s, it would seem like commercials are a thing of the past. If this is true, why would large companies still want to promote products using this form of advertising? The answer is simple: because they work. Ever been at the movie theater and swear to yourself that you wouldn’t buy a popcorn and Coke only to–moments later–curse the mouth-watering ad you saw during the previews that made you purchase the large combo pack? Yeah, I’ve been there too.

I mean, LOOK at that butter! Mmmmmm!

I mean, LOOK at that butter! Mmmmmm!

When I have to watch the commercials, say at the theater, or during the Super Bowl (or any live show), I have come to realize that commercials really do work. No, I may not want to buy a Soul after watching those hamsters dance, but the commercial did do one thing important. They got me thinking and later talking about Kia. What the heck is the point of a hamster that loses weight and drives a Kia? I don’t know, but I am talking about Kia now.

Although some would argue then, that bad publicity is still good because it gets the name out, I believe commercials can also have a negative effect on the consumer. This negativity actually pushes away business.  So what are these ads and commercials that make me flip out, or just flip the channel?  Follow along as I take you through some of the worst advertising pieces and explain the do’s and don’ts of their promotional attempt.

PITCH YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE, WITHOUT GROSSING ME OUT.

LAMISIL-

Did you just eat? If so, don’t watch this ad! It seriously made me sick to my stomach. Yes, sometimes there are gross things that happen to our bodies, but is there a better way to illustrate the relief this product provides? I am pretty sure I will never remember the name of this product because all I can think about is how gross the human foot really can be. Please, please do not be so graphic!

GENERATE EMOTION, BUT ONLY GOOD ONES. NO SADNESS OR GUILT. COME ON GET HAPPY!

ASPCA-

Whenever I start to hear Sarah McLachlan’s “Arms of the Angel,” I am in a mad panic to find the remote to turn the channel to something—ANYTHING less depressing. I just can’t take watching animal after animal being abused. This commercial doesn’t make me want to donate to the cause. It makes me want to kill my flat screen and buy my dog lots and lots of treats! If I followed through with my emotions, I would have to use my $18.00 (times one hundred) and buy a new television, so I wouldn’t have any money to donate or buy my dog treats which could be considered animal abuse if you ask my mom.

If you are going to pull at my heart strings, make sure you yank at the ones that will give you a positive response, like Budweiser does with its Clydesdale and Labrador retriever “puppy love” commercials. (WARNING: Be prepared for cute overload when watching those commercials.)

 TELL ME WHAT YOU ARE PROMOTING. NO, REALLY. TELL ME WHAT YOU ARE PROMOTING.

Xbox -

I cannot tell you how many times I am completely annoyed after watching a commercial because I sat through the entire two minutes and I still don’t know what the point was! Xbox did a really good job of this with this ad. Luckily, I only wasted 30 seconds of my time, but it still bothers me nonetheless. First, no woman should ever make that face. Ever. Secondly, I never want to visualize I am looking at  someone’s head where their brain should be. Why are there people living in there and watching movies? I am so confused. Apparently, this commercial is about the new technology with Xbox, but I am convinced it’s about some robot lady.  Either way, I don’t want to buy an Xbox, or watch movies from inside my head.

TELL A STORY. WAIT, TELL A RELEVANT STORY.

Bud Light-

There are an unlimited amount of reasons this commercial makes me flip, but for the sake of really wanting to get to the next commercial (*Spolier Alert* Chipotle actually got it right) I will keep the Bud Light advert bashing to a minimum. I just feel like Bud Light is such an ordinary beer that it needs to show all of its ordinary drinkers that there is no way someone famous is going to hang out and party with you for an entire night just because you are carrying that brown bottle around like a trophy. Go ahead and make the new guy show up with a bottle of Cristal and have him drive a Ferrari F430, and THEN we can talk about gettin’ down with the celebs. These drinkers need to know that you can have twice as much fun without all of the glitz, glamour, and the green. All you truly need is a bottle of Bud to get this party started.

Chipotle -

In an attempt to not be such a critical “Negative Nancy,” I would like to say that if you want to produce excellent story through a commercial, you should mimic Chipotle and its “Back to the Start” commercial. Through simple animation and guiding lyrics, we are shown that in the wake of new technological food production, Chipotle supports sustainable farming that still produces fresh and wholesome ingredients.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on their newest “Scarecrow” commercial. You can view it here and it might be even better than the previously mentioned ad. Though two different stories, they do the same things to the viewer. They hook you in with that simple animation that is pleasing to the eye. They have simple songs with lyrics that explain the story so that no boring dialogue is needed. They give you a simple person with a big, heart wrenching problem.  Then, they show you how that simple person (like us) can help solve that big problem. They make him a hero and convince you that you can be one too, just by eating their products. Not only does it follow the classic storytelling must haves such as introduction, plot, climax, and conclusion, it also has all four points mentioned above. It showed food production without grossing me out. It generated just enough emotion to make me want to change my actions but not the channel. It was clear on what it was promoting- sustainable farming. Most importantly though, this advertisement told a short story that was entirely relevant and will continue to be to food consumers in the future. So now that Chipotle has successfully figured out how to reach their market (of anyone who eats food….so EVERYBODY) how will you reach yours?

Picnics – No ants in my pants!

With winter finally behind us, it is time to start thinking about outdoor activities. Yay! Let’s get some vitamin D! I love being outdoors. I like running with my crazy, uncontrollable chocolate lab. Did I mention he was crazy? Yeah, he actually walks me around. I love biking, or hiking, and I have definitely been known to do absolutely nothing except lounge around on my back porch while drinking one too many pale ales. The outdoor activity I like to do most though? PICNICKING! Who doesn’t like to go on a picnic? Ah, I can just picture it now. A delicious sandwich is moments away from hitting my mouth.  An ice cold beer is chilling in my cooler. The warm breeze is flowing through my hair. Tall grass is slowly itching my legs, and ants are crawling up my shorts. Wait. WHAT?!?! Ants up my shorts? Okay, I can see why picnics are not everyone’s thing. BUT, thanks to ShowYourLogo.com, and its low cost travel products, anyone can have the perfect picnic this season.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

First things first. We need to get rid of those ants in my pants. I mean, what if they are fire ants? Then, my pants would be on fire!! So, I need to get a blanket. Not just any blanket though. I only have two hands, and if my infant son and previously mentioned dog come along, I really have no hands. So, I need something with a strap to rest on my shoulder. I recommend the custom printed roll up blanket . It has a velcro closure and is perfect to sit on during a any outdoor event. It will be particularly hard for the ants to climb up on the blanket, and the itchy grass will no longer irritate my legs. #Winning!

 

Next, of course I have a salad. Regular Tupperware just doesn’t get the job done. I have no where to put my dressing!! This is why the 3 piece salad shaker  is a must for any traveler. This handy 4 cup plastic container includes a plastic fork, and a removable 4 table spoon salad dressing holder. Now, I wouldn’t eat salad any other way.

 

Subsequently, after eating, we want nothing more than an ice cold beverage. Ever have a cooler packed with a bunch of cans, and when you open the bag you come to realize that all of your cans have toppled over and have been partying without you? Ever open said can and gotten drenched because of this shaken disaster?  Yes, me too. The round insulated cooler bag has rid me of hyper carbonation by allowing me to pack the cans in a round formation, keeping all of them compact until we are ready to drink them. I can fit up to 12 cans plus ice and everything stays nice and cold thanks to the foil laminated PE lining.

 

The last essential for this perfect picnic is a portable Bluetooth speaker. From the relaxing sounds of Jimmy Buffet, to the dance party jams of Jay-Z, sync this little guy up to your device for big sound of whatever music you prefer! Can’t connect? Don’t worry, this product also has an auxiliary input jack for connecting non- Bluetooth devices. Can’t miss a call? You are covered, as this product also has a microphone and answering capabilities.

 

Looking for something to do this summer? Go have a picnic! Now that you have the best how to guide listing the best picnic products out there, this will be one picnic you will want to repeat for years to come!

Top 10 List (Pens)

I consider myself a pretty passive person. As in, it takes a lot for me to get mad. In certain situations though, there are just some things that really set me off. If you are anything like me (you know, human and such) I think you can agree with me on some of these. So, I am going to share with you what really grinds my gears. In case you don’t know what that means because you have never watched one of the funniest shows on the planet (*hint, it’s called Family Guy) I am talking about things that bug the crap out of me. Like bugs. Like mosquitoes. Did you know that mosquitoes alone killed 700,000 people last year? They are gross little blood suckers and are so annoying! Oh, right. Moving on…

10. Driving on the interstate. I cannot stand those slow drivers who absolutely REFUSE to let me pass them because they will not get out of the left lane. Thank you for making my hour long commute to work even more of a nightmare.

 

9.    Trying on jeans. No explanation needed.

 

8.    Doing Laundry. Wash, rinse, dry, repeat…wait the reds can’t go with the whites? Oh, well I guess it’s a good thing I look good in pink.

 

7.    Waiting on hold. More specifically, waiting on hold for more than two minutes. I have to call your customer service department because something is not right and instead of servicing your customer you ask me to wait and listen to your elevator music? I could be watching Game of Thrones right now. Dang it.

6.     Speaking of waiting, I loathe waiting in line at the store, be it Wal-Mart, the grocery store, or pretty much anywhere else. I’ve never abandoned a cart of frozen food or anything, but if the line is too long and I’m holding just a few items in my hands, I’ve walked away.

 

5.    Buffets. They are so tempting until you realize they are a jack of all trades yet a master of none.

Oh yeah, and then there is the tummy ache you get after you have had five plates to get your “money’s worth” of food.

 

4.    False advertising. If I paid for an “all inclusive” trip to a tropical resort, then you better believe all of my rum and cokes should be included.

 

3.    Loud commercials on T.V. I know DVR has solved most of this problem, but I still jump off my couch alarming my dog who starts barking (loudly) when the characters on my show seem to be whispering and that stinking Verizon commercial seems to be slowly causing hearing loss.

 

2.    Texting and driving. This epidemic has taken the world’s teenagers by storm and at the same time putting drivers everywhere at risk. If your eyes are on the phone, they are not on the road people!! Think about it. At the sake of sounding like a PSA announcement, it can wait.

 

AND, the #1 thing that grinds my gears…

 1. PENS THAT DON’T WORK!!

I know this is a new techie world, where people usually reach for their keyboard instead of their pens, but they are not obsolete. Yet. Nothing bothers me more, then when I want/need to write something down and I have to try at least five different pens before I can get one to work. Sometimes, it can be hard to find the right one. Not to mention, there are like ten trillion that we sell, so how can one choose from the selection? Without any guidance, the task would be like trying to find a needle in a hay stack. Yikes. So, I am going to make it rather simple for you. I am going to tell what pen to choose and why.

 

First up, ranking the very highest throughout the Show Your Logo Staff, we have this retractable pen by Ink Joy.

inkjoy

 

This bad boy was the top pick among everyone here. It comes in ten colors! Hey, it’s important. It also has a thin, modern and stylish body with an extended rubberized grip for maximum comfort. This particular pen features smooth gel ink that never smears! Are you a left- handed writer? Fear smudges no longer with this helpful tool! This pen writes so smoothly I have even heard the word “sexy” used to describe its writing power. Hold on, it’s sexy? I’m sold. The best feature that this pen has, other than lasting forever AND being retractable, is that we can get them for an outstandingly good price with your logo on it.

We did have a few that made the “honorable mention” list.

The iBasset II Penmandarin stylus

Apparently, the “hourglass” modern shape and ability to use it on your smart phone makes this pen a popular pick.

The Bic Clic Stic Pen bic clic stic

This pen has the old school feel of the original retractable pen. Its thin ink makes it precise and good for everyday writing. It is light and durable and simply just gets the job done.

 

Lastly, we have the the Ultra Tropical Pen.

tropical

This beauty has no magic writing power.
What makes this pen so special is that it comes in very pretty tropical colors.
It can truly make you feel like you are on a tropical paradise vacation even from your cubical. Okay, maybe not so much, but the pen is nice to look at.

 

 

The “I’m With Stupid” T-Shirts

In my opinion, clothing should speak for itself without the need for an explanation. When the point on a custom shirt is not clear and up for interpretation, the meaning behind the words or phrase can be completely lost. Then, what was the point in wearing said piece anyway? For example, we have all seen the very popular custom t-shirt that reads “I’M WITH STUPID” followed by an arrow, right?

stupid

While some may find this hilarious, others can be turned off. Are the words on the shirt really poking fun at the person standing next to the individual in the shirt, or does it give the wearer a bad image? After learning of what happened to a local business in Gastonia, N.C., I believe that people are a product of what they wear. Just as you can be judged for what comes out of your mouth, the same goes for what you advertise on your chest. Owners of Sharkey’s Place Raw Bar & Grill in Gastonia, posted pictures on Facebook of their new t-shirt ideas and printed in bold letters on the front with the phrase “Throw the Bums Out”.

sharkey-s-t-shirts

According to an article posted on Gaston Gazette.com by Diane Turby*, the idea behind the shirts was to bring attention to the people who have harassed their customers and urinated or defecated on the patio of the restaurant, said one owner. Although there may be one or two incidents that seem to justify the reasoning, we can see how it would be misinterpreted to mean only high class customers are allowed in their restaurant, or that downtown Gastonia has a “hobo” problem or even that the owners are heartless to those who fall short of pursuing the American Dream. Or, perhaps above all, it could mean this restaurant has a political vendetta at stake. Wait, did someone say steak? Yum. Anyway, these are conclusions about the restaurant’s persona the owners probably did not wish to market. Although I am sure their most popular dish is still delicious, I can’t help but to think that a bitter taste is left in the mouths of those who know about the shirt. This imposes the question, what is more important? Showing my customers my personal views and opinions, or showing them the best food in town?

In wearing a shirt with a logo or slogan, or words just in general, I believe that the person wearing the shirt has something to say. Speaking with a shirt should be simple and to the point without room for questioning. Questions lead to answers, and if someone cannot guess the right answer from your shirt, it could jeopardize your business by turning off the customers.
Just as the suppliers of the shirts mentioned above, of course Show Your Logo, Inc. customers are free to exercise their 1st Amendment Right on their custom shirts, and at competitive pricing. I am hoping though, that in choosing ShowYourLogo.com for creating promotional apparel, we can help business owners say “I’m NOT With Stupid”, and so much more.

Reference:
* Turby, Diane. “Sharky’s Under Fire For T-Shirts.” Gaston Gazette. 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 12 May. 2014.

 

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