from the plenty-of-tshirts dept
Hearst Magazines, which is the division of the Hearst Corporation behind Popular Mechanics, has teamed up with Old Navy to print t-shirts with old Popular Mechanics illustrations aimed at kids. The classic artwork is supposed to revive interest in the new editions of Popular Mechanics as well as generate some enthusiasm for mechanical gadgets related to transportation (think 1950s rocket cars and electric motorcycle concepts). Along with the shirts, the magazine is also sponsoring a ‘Kids Can Do Great Things Design Contest’ for children (up to 12) to submit their own artwork. The winner of the contest will get a $500 shopping spree at Old Navy and have the design printed in the magazine — and if it looks good on a shirt, they’ll sell shirts, too.
Not too long ago, we mentioned Rolling Stone magazine trying out a similar merchandise program (though with a few more legal complications), so this isn’t exactly a novel concept (and we never said it was). But it’s interesting that more publications are experimenting with efforts to connect with fans — and especially younger fans to keep the fan pipeline filled. And one of the key components for this Popular Mechanics example is that it fits with the magazine’s audience and also highlights a common theme from the magazine. This is the beginning of creating a brand for the magazine that features why readers should be interested in paying attention to it. Namely, if you’re looking for articles and concept artwork related to futuristic transportation solutions, Popular Mechanics is where to go.
If this t-shirt trend continues, though, we’ll have to be on the lookout for newspapers printing t-shirts, too. I’m pretty sure there would be a market for WSJ-style hedcut artwork on t-shirts — and some copyright issues for it as well.