Mike Martin from I’m A Hot Tee recently posted on his blog a short video on how he runs his T-shirt company. It’s a very quick look into the preparation, design, photo shooting and marketing aspects of running a tee brand.
I have said many times on this blog that if harnessed correctly, social networks can be a very powerful tool. T-shirt maker, I’m A Hot Tee has definitely made use of the prolific YouTube crowd by tapping into one of the sites most popular comedians (he’s in the top 60 in subscriptions), Ed Bassmaster.
Mike Martin of I’m A Hot Tee sought out Bassmaster by sending him a videoÂ (see video below)Â asking him if he would “like to help me promote my tees in exchange for us making him a one-of-a-kind “Mumbles is My Homeboy” shirt. (see video below)” Within an hour, Bassmaster phoned Martin and a business relationship was made. Within six weeks, Martin had produced an official Mumbles tee and Bassmaster posted a YouTube video (as Mumbles) promoting the new T-shirt. Martin ended up selling over 60 tees with the night the Mumbles Shirts video was posted on YouTube! And inevitably, people picked up other tees while they browsed for the Mumbles tee.Â
Interestingly, Bassmaster decided not to accept any profits from the shirts sold, he instead opted to receive free tees for himself, family and friends.Â
I had the chance to talk with Mike Martin of I’m A Hot Tee regarding his interesting business and marketing relationship with Bassmaster.Â
Coty: You recently posted on the T-shirt website Emptees that you have worked with Ed Bassmaster, a popular YouTube based comedian. In order to market your brand, you decided tackle the YouTube crowd. Why did you decided to go with Bassmaster?
Mike: I had been a fan of Ed’s for a long time, mostly because I really appreciated the fact that I could watch his stuff with my grandparents without feeling embarrassed. I had initially only contacted Ed to try to get him to participate in our Hot Tee of the Month experiment, and you can actually see the video I sent him on YouTube. Synchronistically, around that same time Ed had been wearing an iron-on transfer that just said “EdBassmaster,” and people had been going nuts for it. So when he saw the Mumbles shirt design we were going to give him for free if he helped us with the Hot Tee of the Month, he said he wanted to team up and sell shirts to the public.
Anyway, the reason I decided to go with Ed is that he has the same mission with his comedy that I have with my t-shirts: He wants to supply clean laughs in an increasingly yucky (technical term) world to as many people as possible. It was a perfect fit.
(Sidenote: Various family emergencies have delayed Ed’s being the first “Hottee of the Month,” but he should be able to do it sometime soon!)
Coty: Do you plan on continuing this form of “viral” marketing with future tees and other YouTube Comedians to help market your brand? If so, who?
Mike: I definitely plan to, and I hope to have some YouTube celebrity appearances on our own channel, HotTeeTV (www.youtube.com/hotteetv). At the moment, I’m in contact with some other YouTube comedians – some even more subscribed to than Ed – who are going to wear our shirts and promote them. One guy is particularly excited about our Hoverboard and Weeevolution! shirts.
But I’m going to play this one a little close to the chest for now :]. I’ll send you an update as soon as their videos are up.
Coty: What is it about Ed’s comedy that made you think that your brand, I’m A Hot Tee, would be a great match?
Mike: It’s really a couple things. First, I think he’s an incredible undiscovered talent (though I don’t think he’ll be undiscovered a year from now) because he’s such an original voice in comedy. The various characters he does – Marlin Woods, Tequila, Larry, Mumbles – all have a unique persona, so much so that it’s hard to believe it’s the same guy under the wigs and funny voices. What’s more, Ed’s extemely unique on YouTube, in that he takes these characters public for his pranks: The interactions people have with them are priceless.
All that said, however, it really comes down to Ed being a great guy, and someone who likes clean humor as much as I do. That’s what I’m a Hot Tee is all about: “Hot Tees You Can Take Home to Mom!”
Coty: You invested a few days in preparing a video that you used to pitch your idea to Ed and then spent about $60 to give Ed and his family/friends free tees and in return you received over 60 orders of the Mumbles Is Your Homeboy tee within a few hours of Ed wearing the tee in one of his video. How does this compare to others investments you’ve made in marketing your brand (i.e. CPC Campaigns, etc.)?
Mike: The YouTube stuff is the main thing we’ve done for advertising, honestly, so it’s difficult to compare. However, it’s nearly impossible for me to imagine many other strategies online that would yield similar results. Like you said, it was more or less free, and Ed had many fans just waiting for him to make t-shirts. Moreover, people were already invested in Ed as a person and a comedian, because his fans really do love the guy so much. So there were multiple layers of built-in incentive for them to get our stuff. With all that in mind, you can imagine how much more effective it is than a CPC campaign.
Coty: How would you describe your partnership with Ed? Is Ed the official I’m A Hot Tee Spokesperson or do you sponsor Ed (similar to how many brands sponsor bands)?
Mike: Well, at this point, we’re really just good friends. Ed is the sweetest, humblest guy I’ve ever met, and he refused to be paid for the shirts: He just wanted to get his name and face out there. That said, in the next couple months, as he sets up his own website and his popularity continues to skyrocket, we’re going to move into more of a sponsorship relationship, and he’s definitely going to be getting a substantial amount of all profits. We’re also going to be expanding the EdBassmaster line to include more of his characters. (I’m hoping it will be Tequila or Marlin, personally).