T-Shirts That Get People Talking   

I suppose I should be talking about the Emmys tomorrow but I can’t muster the energy to give a damn about an awards ceremony I won’t watch. If you really wanna discuss the nominees and who you think’ll win, head on over to theTVaddict.com and post away. Me? I feel like gazing at some navel fluff. Specifically the navel fluff my TV related t-shirts leave behind… and now I’ve taken this too far.

But really, I’ve been wearing about eight of my TV related t-shirts pretty regularly in the past month and a half and have been fascinated by which of them prompt people to talk to me and how their response varies from shirt to shirt. I’m not sure I have any conclusions on what designs are more effective as marketing tools since at least one of these shirts is a fan-made (by me) shirt never intended to get people asking about it. It just feels like a fun exercise of observation to record the various reactions and to see if any of you run into anything similar when wearing shirts of this sort.

This The Closer t-shirt gets me more comments than any of my other TV shirts.Like I said, I own more than just these but here are shirts I’ve been wearing the most lately:

  • The Closer T-shirt: (pictured) Has slogan “Everyone has something to confess” in plain white text on the front and a small show logo on the back near the collar. Got it at the season four premiere screening I attended this past summer.
  • Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog T-shirts: One with the title of the series and the other is a Captain Hammer shirt. Got them both at Comic Con this past summer.
  • Psych Pineapple T-shirt: Has a faded line drawing of a pineapple on the front and small show logo on the back near the collar. Got it during my set visit.
  • Fringe T-shirt: Has Fringe lettering and FOX logo on the front and the six-fingered hand in the middle of the back. Got it for “completing” the scavenger hunt at Comic Con 2008. (Of these shirts, this is the one I probably wear the most… at least once or twice a week.)
  • Firefly/Serenity T-shirt Has a collage of a bunch of different significant images/icons from the show/movie. Got it from TFAW earlier this summer.
  • Veronica Mars My Pretty Pony Concert T-shirt:. Designed by me, has a made-up logo for the fake band My Pretty Pony on the front and a list of tour dates/cities on the back (all cities used in the show) as well as an Invisible Children logo as it was used as a fundraiser for that cause. Got it last summer. (This is my second “go to” shirt. Mostly because it matches my favorite (brown) slip-on Chucks.)
  • Chuck T-shirt: Says “chuckssecret.com” on the front and has the Chuck logo on the back. Got at the Comic Con 2007 panel for the show. (Gets worn the least at the moment because it’s made of slightly heavier material than the others.)

More people have responded to The Closer shirt than any of the others listed. Appropriate given the saying on the shirt. However, they rarely ask about the origins of it. They merely like to comment on the saying and how true it is. It should be noted that I’m not exactly Miss Chatty Kathy with strangers and frequently get confused when people start talking to me for no apparent reason. You’d think I’d be more expectant of it by now since it has literally happened every time I’ve worn the shirt but, no, not so much.

On the other hand, while the Chuck and Fringe shirts may not get as many responses, every single time I’ve been asked about them… it’s lead to a discussion of the shows. In fact, in the past month, I have probably convinced (though I wasn’t selling it, just talking about what it’s about and why I loved the pilot) five or so strangers to give Fringe a try, all because they asked me about my shirt. The Chuck shirt doesn’t get nearly that many inquiries these days but last fall people were constantly asking me who Chuck was and what was his secret. Amusingly I never got around to checking out chuckssecret.com until well into the first season so Chuck’s secret kind of changed every time I talked to someone new.

All three of the Whedon shirts (plus my Browncoat hoodie & Whedon Master shirt) on the list get about the same response. Well, I take that back, everyone likes to read the Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog shirt out loud. Something about the artwork seems to appeal to people because, unlike with other shirts, they will actually physically stop me from moving so they can read it and almost all of them usually chuckle about it. Few ask about it. I think they just assume it’s a joke they don’t get vs an actual thing. Besides that, these three shirts always elicit a reaction from Whedon fans. Just the other day I was wearing my Captain Hammer shirt and, quite frankly, had kind of forgotten I had it on… when someone smiled at me knowingly in the grocery store. I assumed he was sharing my amusement at the guy in front of me who kept inadvertently cutting me off as we traversed the aisle. But, no, he saw the shirt and knew he was looking at a Whedonite. He then proceeded to follow me around and tell me about his trip to DragonCon and how much he enjoyed the Firefly panel. Of course, he wasn’t as much of a fan as I am since I was having to fill in the blanks when he forgot the actors/actresses names and/or who was even on the panel. Yeah, dude, I read about that the day it happened. Of the three shirts, the Serenity one doesn’t get as many responses but I suspect that’s because it takes a second or two to place the artwork and by then I’m gone.

And, finally, reactions to my Veronica Mars shirt and the Psych shirt are few and far between. I think this is because, in both cases, you truly have to be a real fan of the show to make the connection. The pineapple gets recognized a little bit more and I suspect that’s mostly due to the new “find the pineapple” marketing USA for Psych. Without it I’m not sure people would make the connection. As for the VM shirt, well, like I said only a devoted fan of the show is going to get it. In fact, the majority of times people have responded to it have been when they could read the back and can see that the first city on the “tour” is Neptune, CA. Sometimes people respond to the name of the band because of its closeness to My Little Pony but I don’t think those reactions count here.

Overall, it seems like people are more likely to say something to you when you’re wearing a shirt that’s either visually appealing or somewhat mysterious. Or a combination of both. I don’t think people would be at all curious about what Fringe is if the title artwork didn’t have a cool 3-D feel to it. Honestly, I think the word “confess” is key to why people like The Closer shirt. It’s like because the shirt says confess, they have to confess it’s true! It amuses me in this way. And chuckssecret.com is just vague enough that it makes them curious. Too bad I have no way of knowing whether people visited the actual web site after seeing me wearing the shirt.

What TV show related shirts do you wear regularly? Do people react to them? If so, are they reacting more to the design of the shirt or do they actually want to know about the show? Inquiring minds…

One Response to “T-Shirts That Get People Talking”

  1. 1
    Just Jody says:

    I get the most weird looks when I wear my “Heores has eaten my brain” T-Shirt that you made! I’m pretty sure it’s the blood and outline that cause it, because they don’t usually seem to be the “Cool. Hereos is awesome.” type looks. More the “Hmm, I wonder if she’s a serial killer?” type. :)

    And I do get the knowing smiles when wearing the Whedon… Master or Serenity T’s.

    I think my fave reaction was from a checkout girl when I was wearing my Dragonfly Inn shirt. She was grinning at me like a crazy person, and when I finally gave her the raised eyebrow, she started squeeing about her love for Gilmore Girls. It was cute.