Can My Shirt Say This?

T-shirt marketing is likely to never go out of style. Shirts are easy on the budget, easy to produce and easy to distribute.








It’s always fun to brainstorm slogans for t-shirts for student communities. Because our demographic is young, we get to play around with pop culture messages.

One of my favorites from this year was inspired from the movie Straight Outta Compton (which I still haven’t seen, sadly).

Thanks, Laura!










While I’m sure your team can crank out some ridiculously creative shirts, you know like we know, it takes a few revisions to get it right.

Recently, I was asked to review a shirt that used a play on the lyrics from a rap song called Down In The DM by Yo Gotti. The chorus goes:

I seen your girl post her BMW

So I hit her in the DM

All eyes, yeah I see ’em

Yeah that’s your man? I hate to be him

It goes down in the DM (x4)

I’ll spare you the rest of the raunchy details. Let’s just decipher these few lines.

The DM that Yo Gotti is referring to is the Direct Message feature on Instagram. He sees a girl’s photo, probably double taps it, then decides to send her a DM, which is private.

So what do you think “goes down in the DM”?

The song implies that the exchange in the DM contains, eh, mature content.

There are a few things you have to ask yourself when incorporating pop culture trends into your marketing:

  1. Is it a broad enough reference? Can anyone look at your shirt and get it?
  2. Could the message potentially offend any segment of your demographic? If you’re in student housing, consider a parent’s point of view.
  3. How will the message affect your brand? What emotions will be triggered when consumers see your logo next to this pop culture reference?

In the case of Yo Gotti’s DM, it’s possible that we could be restricting our audience to only those people familiar with rap music. If the message implies a sexual event, it could definitely offend someone. Finally, if our brand became associated with this song, just imagine how students would perceive our community. We don’t want to be known as the place where it “goes down.”

For these reasons, as catchy was the slogan was, it was turned down.

My rule of thumb when you’re thinking up your next t-shirt slogan is this: if you have to think twice about it, don’t use it.

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