Over the last several years, our industry has been trending away from basic cotton tees and moving toward softer, retail quality shirts. While price point is many times the determining factor in selecting a t-shirt, we argue that if you’re only considering the one time cost and not the ROI from a cost per impression standpoint, you’re selling your advertising opportunity short.

An “impression” is the number of times your shirt is worn and how many people have the opportunity to see it. So, the more impressions you have, the more bang for your buck. Let’s break this down a little more with some actual numbers:

SHIRT A = Standard, 100% Cotton T-Shirt @ $4.80 per shirt

SHIRT B = Softer, Retail Quality T-Shirt @ $5.90 per shirt

Because Shirt A isn’t a great fit and isn’t all that comfortable, let’s say it gets worn 2 times (yes, probably multiple times after that as a sleep shirt or shirt to do the yard/clean the house in, but that doesn’t count as an “impression” since no one sees it), and each time we’ll assume 20 people notice the branding. That would make 40 total impressions for that shirt and a cost per impression of $0.12.

On the other hand, since Shirt B fits great and is super comfortable, let’s say that shirt gets worn 8 times (pretty conservative number), and each time we’ll assume 20 people notice the branding. That would make 160 total impressions for this shirt and a cost per impression of $.04.

Now, we’re no math gurus, but it’s pretty easy to see that even though the retail quality Shirt B has a higher up front cost, the lower cost per impression make it a better return on your investment.

In summary, spending a little more up front to get your customers and employees a shirt that they’ll love and WANT to wear increases the value of the shirt in their eyes and also gets you more bang for your advertising buck!