How a novel digital t-shirt campaign could be a winner for fundraising
Rapidata’s Amy McGeever featured in Civil Society Fundraising
Last month, I was asked to talk about a non-charity campaign that had caught my attention. As a digital fundraiser, I naturally keep my eye out for interesting digital campaigns. Whisky label Ballantine’s novel digital t-shirt might not be the most famous or widely known digital campaign of 2012, but this ‘geeky wonder’ certainly caught my attention and I couldn’t help think of a number of ways in which a digital t-shirt could be used for charity fundraising.
Article below re-printed with permission from (and thanks to) Civil Society Fundraising.
6 Nov 2012
Fundraising typically concerns itself with case studies about, well, fundraising. Sometimes, however, it’s important to catch a side glance at the outside world. So, we asked some of our top fundraisers to talk about which non-charity campaigns had caught their attention this year.
Rapidata’s Amy McGeever explains how whisky label Ballantine’s novel digital t-shirt campaign could be a winner for fundraising.
In August, whisky brand Ballantine’s launched its ‘Leave An Impression’ campaign starring the world’s first programmable digital t-shirt, the tshirtOS. Developed by digital clothing specialist CuteCircuit, this isn’t your average 100 per cent cotton t-shirt. Woven into the fabric of tshirtOS are an ultra-thin LED screen, a tiny camera, and microphone; all of which are connected to the internet and the animated messages on the shirt controlled via your smartphone.
The tshirtOS can display messages and images, tweets, hashtags, Instagram feeds and Facebook statuses; and it can play music and take photos. The wearer gets noticed and ‘leaves an impression’.
Ballantine’s is promoting the concept on Facebook, asking people to register their interest and share how they would use it. Promo videos show it off with the inventors’ pitch recounting a mad-cap crazy night out with the tshirtOS, a rock band wearing shirts on stage; and a tshirtOS showing just a simple moving beating heart complete with heartbeat soundtrack… I can think of one relevant charity straight away. It will be interesting to see if this engagement device achieves its goal of social media buzz and brand affinity, and if this increases sales of the liquor. More to the point, how might a charity use it?
I can hear it now, “There’s no way my comms team would let one of my supporters wield this sort of personal expression in our brand environment… as if!”
But there are multiple ways this kind of technology can work for charities. What about inviting some of your most dedicated fundraisers and social media influencers to engage with your charity brand via digital t-shirts? After all, it can be your charity’s brand, tweets, hashtags and Facebook status the shirt broadcasts. Wouldn’t it be great if your marathon runners were wearing one of your shirts next spring? Or how about concert-goers at one of next summer’s music festivals where you have a presence? Or giving your street fundraisers a truly attentiongrabbing opening line?
It’s a little geeky wonder that translates into so many fundraising opportunities.
Amy McGeever is digital account director at Rapidata
Read more non-fundraising campaigns that fundraisers can learn from:
- Barack Obama’s re-election campaign
- Channel 4’s Paralympic promotions
- KitKat’s ‘We Will Find You’ campaign