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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
(I'd like this topic to focus on an opinion from a business standpoint and not in terms of political views/debates-thnx)
I have a design ready to go for a shirt based on a pro [presidential candidate] 08 stance...

We have yet to release our first shirt for our upcoming apparel line - We are still in the midst of R&D and are being patient.

Through this R&D I came up with a solid design 'Vote [presidential candidate] 08' in which the style translates into the designs will will release through our apparel line in the future.

So my question is, from just starting out, would it be wise or not wise to release a shirt as the first to be seen/worn for our upcoming apparel line based on our views/stance on a political opponent?

The target market we are aiming for would be inline to be pro-[this presidential candidate] (for the most part) so alienating our target market isn't my biggest concern. It's the non-[presidential candidate] supporters whom I would be worried about in the future if they didn't like this design would they be inclined to just have a permanent opinion and not care/want designs from our line in the future which would be unrelated to Politics?

So to sum up, go with the [presidential candidate] shirt or not?

Thanks for your feedback,
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EQ
 

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I think this is the time to generate sales with a hot topic. I would go for it.This will allow you to get some capital built up and make launching your line easier. Good luck. ... JB
 

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It's the non supporters whom I would be worried about in the future if they didn't like this design would they be inclined to just have a permanent opinion and not care/want designs from our line in the future which would be unrelated to Politics?
Yes, this is a possibility that you run into.

I read a quote somewhere that said "partisanship hurts sales". I think it was talking about the MTV Awards, but it can apply here as well.

Political designs are an animal of their own. Unless your whole clothing line is political, I'm not sure starting out your line with a political design is a good idea.
 

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If your future line is politically-based, it might be a good idea. If not, I doubt it would be. Style does not translate nearly as well as message and content.

For example, if you set up a stand on the side of the road with a big sign that says "Apples", advertise apples in the local paper, sell tons of apples, then 2 weeks later start selling broccoli. Your apple customers are going to come looking for apples and find broccoli. Some of your apple customers are going to want to buy broccoli, but certainly not all of them. Most of them are just going to go look for apples somewhere else. Then you have to start all over, advertising broccoli.

Another thing to consider is that the election is mere months away. It's a very limited time window to create products and advertise them effectively. You're better off spending that time and energy to develop and market the core products of your line.
 

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I'd recommend a design for both sides or just plan to only cover one side or the other in the future. Partisanship will be an issue. So, make it clear that you are non-partisan up front or pick a side and run with it.
 

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I think political shirts are an animal of their own breed. I would find it out of place, to me, to be looking at fashion shirts and political at the same time. But that may just be me. Obviously there are people that totally intertwine the two. As an example, you have Rage Against The Machine, that mixes their politics with music. If you aren't going to be doing it further down the line, then I would either not do it, or do it under a different name. Just as a reminder, you don't have very much more time left on this, so make a quick decision. :)

Also, it does influence me in my buying, if they don't agree with my opinions.
 

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I guess,I'm out numbered on this issue. I read what everyone else posted and I think my advice was WRONG. I was only thinking of the quick sales and not the long term issues. I guess the statement "we learn something new everyday" is true. ... JB
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for everyone's feedback.

We have came to the conclusion that we WILL sell the shirt based on our presidential candidate's preference.

Here were the deciding factors:
- Our company is about voice, expression and communication through apparel so it aligns to our mantra.

- If we held back on releasing this shirt so early on, we would be contradicting what the company stands for too early on - regardless of it's a bad 'business' move or not which is yet to be known. We will probably touch upon some controversial issue in the future through non-political designs, or something someone just won't like - it's inevitable, so why should we view this as a different case.

- We are limited in time so these shirts won't be fully represented for our future line which is private labeling, hangtags, and other misc.
embellishments. We are aiming for just the print on Hanes Beefy T.

- Exposure won't be as grand as our future line because we have a limited budget for this upfront and time is riding against us.

- We want to take this as a learning experience, see what it's like doing direct sales (online won't be live in this run), interacting in many venues, feeling out different markets, getting some insight on our sale price of the T, interacting with time schedules and suppliers, etc.

Supporting this candidate is more important than sales at this point and the experience combined will be an investment well worth it.

I believe the other candidate's supporters won't hold a grudge because like I mentioned before, solid clothing with solid designs will carry their weight - this I stand by for our line. There is no magic formula, so we'll take this chance and hold our heads high :)

Again, much love on the feed!
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EQ
 
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