CHICAGO: T-shirt company Threadless partnered with Twitter to crowdsource designs for new "Twitter Tees” – T-shirts that feature Tweets submitted and voted on by Twitter users. The nine-year old company already leverages crowdsourcing from its own online network for its designs. This latest effort aims to promote, drive sales, and encourage crowdsourcing for the Twitter Tees.
Threadless launched its first four Twitter Tees on Tuesday and will print winning slogans on two new shirts every week.
“The beauty of crowdsourcing is the audience really markets the products themselves,” said Cam Balzer, VP of marketing at Threadless parent company Skinny Corp. “I think what we're trying to do with this campaign is bring the crowdsourcing expertise we have to additional communities, and obviously the Twitter community is a passionate community.”
The initiative tasks Twitter members to submit Tweets, nominate others' Tweets, and vote on Tweets submitted via Twitter.threadless.com, a site tied to the Twitter application programming interface (API). The site has a tool that sends users' Tweets to their followers, letting them know they've nominated a shirt or slogan and encouraging them to vote for it.
“The site is a viral communications platform all on its own,” said Balzer. “Within a few hours [of the launch] we had 200,000 votes... It's a strong indication of what happens when you connect crowdsourcing with a passionate user base.”
The team, working with AOR Attention PR, is promoting the first four shirts in its Facebook community and on Threadless.com, as well as via outreach with a Tweetable 140-character press release and traditional media relations.
“The [Twitter] press release was an acknowledgement of the power of that community,” said Curtis Hougland, CEO and founder of Attention. “We're promoting the first four T-shirts and inviting the community to help us create more.”