T-shirts & ads

I’m amazed how quickly T-shirts sell online. Not the ones with natural cotton, weeks of inspiration and design, but the silly ones that are a response to an ad campaign.

Oatly created the most hated spot in the Superbowl 2021, no celebrities, no crazy budgets, just its CEO with a keyboard in the middle of a field singing a song. As people really disliked the ad and hate spreads faster on the Internet, the brand immediately generated a lot of buzz, and Oatly was noticed. Plus the song was quite simple to remember so you get the message instantly. Wow, wow, no cow! (I keep singing it while writing this, sorry to annoy more people).

The clever strategy was the anticipated hate, after the ad, Oatly announced on social media the release of a limited edition T-shirt: “I totally hated that Oatly commercial,” with a graphic of Petersson. Apparently the 500 T-shirts were sold out in under 5 minutes.

Second case, Burger King. On International Women’s Day, the brand told the world “Women belong in the kitchen”. Uh oh! The title killed a good intention, as the idea was to promote a new culinary scholarship education program to have more women in head-chef positions (currently only 7%).

Again, the tweet got everyone talking, all the media grilling BK. Although, instead of just spreading more negative comments, agency  Hunt, Gather decided to rework the Burger King campaign and in less than a day published the burger-queen.com site, an inclusive twist for a line of merchandise (T-shirts, tote bags…) with all proceeds going to the Girls Empowerment Network.

And to make it clear “This site was created by the majority women-owned agency of with no affiliation to the Burger King Corporation or any Burger King subsidiaries. Just our response to an ad that set us back decades.”

T-shirts last longer than 30 seconds and fast scrolled posts so were a good complement to the strategy. People collect them when visiting a new city, like the famous I ❤ NY; attending music concerts (you should have a few); wear a pink one for breast cancer awareness, or simply get a plain one by Asket “This is a T-shirt.” They literally say that. “Not a fashion statement, nor a status symbol. Just a T-shirt.”

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