[caption id="attachment_811" align="alignnone" width="469"] Image soruce: Pureinfographics.com[/caption]
There is a miniature war raging at this very moment. But the battle isn't being fought in some war-torn country -- it's all happening on t-shirts. Notre Dame and the University of Alabama are slated to go head-to-head in a fight for the national title on January 7th, 2013. The match-up is already bringing deep-seated rivalries to the surface. For those of you who don't watch college football like it's the one true religion, Notre Dame beat No. 1-ranked Alabama in the 1973 Sugar Bowl with a final score of 24-23. The game is still weeks away, but fans have already released an opening salvo against their rivals through custom t-shirts.
Notre Dame fans made national headlines with a t-shirt that read "Catholics vs Cousins," suggesting that Alabama football fans like to keep things close to home when it comes to dating.
[caption id="attachment_669" align="alignnone" width="584"] Image source: Sbnation.com[/caption]
As if that wasn't already bad enough, pictures of another t-shirt that reads, "Golden Domers vs Mobile Homers" has been making its rounds through Twitter and other social media websites.
[caption id="attachment_668" align="alignnone" width="584"] Image source: Sbnation.com[/caption]
This isn't the first time that Notre Dame waged t-shirt war against a rival. During the 1988 game, one Notre Dame fan came up with the clever slogan of "Catholics vs Convicts" and stuck the phrase on t-shirts. The clothes sold like hot cakes before the championship game.
The Notre Dame - Alabama match-up is an important case study regarding the popularity and effectiveness of custom embroidered clothes. Twitter and Facebook may have become the most popular platforms for speaking out in 2013, but people are still eager to dish out money and proudly wear their opinions emblazoned across their chests.
T-shirts, jerseys, and other articles of clothing are a cornerstone revenue source for football teams and universities. It's fairly easy to capitalize on spirited rivalries in businesses, as well. The Windows - Apple rivalry is a fairly good example: Mac fans wear the iconic blue and white t-shirts as a symbol of solidarity and as a public stand against the formerly PC-dominated industry.
Of course, that's a much more subtle statement than the "Catholics vs Cousins" t-shirts, which are fairly insulting. I'm definitely not saying that you should create t-shirts that ridicule your closest competitor. You won't be able to get away with that kind of mudslinging outside of the world of sports.
[caption id="attachment_812" align="alignnone" width="622"] Image source: 9gag.com[/caption]
What I am saying, though, is that controversy and competitive rivalries can lead to an interesting business opportunity. Fans of your business will readily wear your logo, both in support of your company and as a tacit protest against your rival. You probably won't reach a competitive fervor at the same level as the Notre Dame - Alabama rivalry, but you still might be able to transform your customers' brand loyalty into a solid profit.