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Blog / Marketing tips / 8 Effective T-Shirt Ads (And Why They Work)

Marketing tips

8 Effective T-Shirt Ads (And Why They Work)

8 Effective T-Shirt Ads (And Why They Work)
Gabriela Martinez

By Gabriela Martinez

10 min read

Custom t-shirts are the perfect product to sell online. They’re versatile, easy to customize, and simple to ship. That’s also why there are so many t-shirt brands (and t-shirt ads) out there. So, how can you make sure yours will stand out? And what’s the secret to t-shirt advertising that’ll improve sales?

In this article, you’ll see a list of t-shirt ads curated by a marketing specialist (yours truly). With each comes a brief analysis of the marketing strategy behind it and tips for how to replicate their success in your own t-shirt printing business, simply and cost-effectively. Let’s get into it.

8 effective t-shirt ads

1. Takeout Order

T-shirt advertising demands differentiation, and that’s where a great branding strategy comes in handy. These Takeout Order t-shirt ads demonstrate how to do it well.

What’s great about the ad?

It manages to get the brand personality across with limited space. Notice how everything adds to the message: the humor, the black heart emoji as a fun and consistent element, and the name of the t-shirts featured.

Without overexplaining, you get that these t-shirts are made for young adults, evoke that ’90s and ’00s aesthetic, and welcome the feeling of being a “weirdo.” Or, as the brand itself describes in its website, “gloomy toons and throwback vibes.”

Takeaway #1: Work on your branding

Online advertising is full of specifications and limits, so there’s no space to waste. Make sure everything in your ad reflects your brand’s personality, from visuals to word choices. Take your time to pick symbols and expressions to convey your message efficiently.

This will help your audience to instantly feel a connection with your brand, generating more clicks and traffic to your website. On top of that, cultivating a specific brand vibe will make your ads easier to recognize in the middle of the pile.

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2. Riot Society

For some specialists, word-of-mouth is still the most effective marketing strategy there is. Research conducted by BrightLocal found that nearly 50% of consumers trust customer reviews online as much as recommendations from their close social circle. 

If you think about that, it’s pretty clear how user-generated content and reviews would be persuasive ad material. Here’s how Riot Society is using them.

Riot society t-shirt ad

Source: Meta Ads Library 

What’s great about the ad?

Riot Society made a clever testimonial choice. Online shoppers often worry about the risk of spending their money on low-quality products they find online, or worse, falling for a scam. If someone arrives at your website for the first time after seeing an ad that addresses this, they might already be primed to trust your brand and make a purchase.

Riot Society effectively anticipates this issue and features a positive review to combat it in the ad, transforming a pain point into an advantage. 5/5!

Takeaway #2: Engage with user-generated content

Consider turning short screenshots of testimonials into visuals for your t-shirt ads, or use positive reviews left on comments or pictures where your brand has been tagged. If you have some extra money to invest, you can go for paid partnerships with influencers that do things like video reviews.

3. Everpress

There’s a subtle, but important difference between a product’s feature and a product’s benefit. It’s all about how you phrase it: while a feature is all about product characteristics, a benefit highlights what the customer gets from it. In other words, it shows how the features will fulfill their needs and wishes.

It’s better to stick with the benefits when you aim to be persuasive. Take a look at how Everpress does it.

Everpress t-shirt ad

Source: Meta Ads Library

What’s great about the ad

Everpress knows who they’re advertising for. Their business model—print-on-demand for independent artists—is all about the sustainability trend. Using approachable and direct language, their advertising elegantly says “Hey, I know exactly what you want to wear and I got you.”

Takeaway #3: Know your audience

Everyone can sell and advertise custom shirts, but only your store can cater to your niche's needs. Use all the data you can get from your audience’s habits, needs, and personal tastes. Then, assess how your t-shirt can check those boxes and find your way to their hearts with a well-tailored copy.

4. Dumb Club

The drop in attention spans is real. If you’re already a content creator, you probably noticed that people don’t always read through the content. If you add ad blindness to the mix (when people consciously or subconsciously ignore/overlook online advertisements, making them less effective), it might seem like getting people to pay attention to your t-shirt ad is Mission: Impossible.

That’s where the concept of scannable content comes in handy. Check out just how Dumb Club lays out their ad so people can easily get what they need.

Dumb Club T-shirt ad

Source: Meta Ads Library

What’s great about the ad

See how the ad creator broke the copy into topics, so the benefits are more visible? User experience heatmaps show that people often pay more attention to the first few words on the left of each line, so breaking the info into topics and writing direct phrases will help get your message across.

Plus, they used emojis as bullet points, which makes the whole thing adorable (and on brand!).

Takeaway #4: Keep it short

When writing copy, creating a video script, or designing your t-shirt ad, remember editing is key. There’s always a way to make it even more concise without losing key information. The shorter your message, and the easier it is to scan, the more likely it is that your potential customers will absorb it. 

5. Design by Humans

You probably noticed that in most t-shirt ads, the benefits are well known. The challenge is finding a design that you and your audience both like. Luckily, there are plenty of marketing techniques to help products sell themselves. Look at this one by Design by Humans.

Design by humans t-shirt ad

Source: Meta Ads Library

What’s great about the ad

The t-shirt appeal is very easy to comprehend—game character prints for gamers. So instead of unnecessarily informing them on why this is the perfect t-shirt, they create a purchasing urgency. How? By creating a timeframe (get a new t-shirt for this weekend) and by writing two simple imperative sentences (“grab a new tee,” “shop today”).

Takeaway #5: Call to action

Focus on the reader rather than the company. Instead of saying “We’ve launched a new t-shirt,” go with “Check out our new t-shirt.” If you manage to start the sentences with a verb, your call to action gets even more powerful.

6. In God We Must

Our short attention spans in the digital era have another angle: if people aren’t putting too much thought into scrolling through social media, they’re more likely to be led by emotions. And this is what NLP copywriting techniques take advantage of (NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming).

In short, this sales technique can be applied to copy to trigger actions and sales, using a couple of persuasion protocols. One of them is the fear of missing out, or making your audience feel the urge to buy something to get a limited benefit. This is what In God We Must does in this t-shirt ad.

In God We Must t-shirt ad

Source: Meta Ads Library

What’s great about the ad

It’s extra simple and actionable. They have a very well-defined niche—streetwear for Christians—so the t-shirt design speaks for itself. Creating urgency to make a purchase falls to the copy, and the brand does it emphatically: a simple sentence in uppercase letters, insisting that this is an unmissable opportunity to grab the perfect t-shirt. 

Takeaway #6: Create urgency

Limited-stock editions are one of many ways of triggering urgency. Even if you work with print-on-demand and have no stock issues, you can find ways to create a limited-time offer or a limited-prints design. It’s worth the try!

7. Headline

Taking advantage of seasonality is another approach to t-shirt advertising that doesn’t focus on just describing a product or its benefits. Check out this ad by Headline.

Headline t-shirt ad

Source: Meta Ads Library

What’s great about the ad:

They didn’t have to create a special collection for the season, or seasonal ad visuals even. It’s all about advertising designs they already have, that happen to be a perfect match for the occasion, and creating a cohesive seasonal offer.

Takeaway #7: Take advantage of seasonality

Plan your yearly marketing campaigns taking advantage of special dates and seasons that make sense to your business. Take a look at our Marketing Calendar to get a few ideas and learn how to turn them into profit.

8. Billabong

Marketing specialists are always claiming that video is the future of social media—and that includes social media ads. The numbers show that they’re more engaging, more shareable, and generate more clicks. But, they’re also expensive to produce. Or are they? Billabong proved it doesn’t have to be like that in a video ad made with a compilation of pictures.

Billabong t-shirt ad

Source: Meta Ads Library

What’s great about the ad

Billabong compiled different images to create a slideshow video, advertising a vast collection of t-shirt designs all at once. Notice how even big and well-established brands can use simple tactics to increase sales. 

Takeaway #8: Add some movement

Creating a video ad doesn’t have to mean higher investments and long production times. Take advantage of material you already have and use free editing and animation sources to create simple, but effective promo videos.

If you don’t know how to use a tool like this, keep reading. We’ll show you how easy it can be to create your t-shirt ad with a free online tool, step by step.

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How to design your t-shirt ads in Printful’s Promo Maker

Like any business owner, I’m sure your next step will be finding the quickest and most cost-effective way to create your t-shirt ad. Say no more! Here’s how to get your t-shirt ad ready in just a few steps using Printful’s Promo Maker, our free online tool.

1. Login to your Printful Dashboard and go to the Promo Maker tool

Create your free account or log in to Printful. You’ll be redirected to the Dashboard. Then, click on Promo Maker on the side menu

Printful's dashboard

2. Choose a template

On the Promo Templates tab, you’ll find a wide variety of ready-to-edit images for Instagram and Facebook, both apt for organic posts and ads. They’re organized by platform and format (like square, landscape, and stories). If you’re feeling inspired, you can also create a design from scratch using a blank canvas.

Printful Promo Maker Template

Browse through the options to find the template that best suits your brand aesthetics and your promo goals. You can choose from classic static designs to animated ones, to make sure you catch your audience’s attention. We’re constantly adding new designs, so you’ll always have trendy templates to work with.

Printful Promo Maker Templates

Once you hover over a design, you’ll see a Personalize button. Click on it to continue.

3. Edit your template

When you first enter the editing tool, you’ll be able to see every element of the template separated into layers. They’ll be listed on the left side of the screen. Click on the layer that corresponds to the component you want to adjust and use the top menu tools to change images, text, font, color, scale, and more.

Printful Promo Maker Editing InterfacePrintful Promo Maker Interface


You can also add new elements by uploading an image (go to Uploads on the left), adding text (go to Text on the left), or using one of the hundreds of free clipart graphics available in your gallery (check out Clipart on the left).

The coolest feature is the possibility of adding a t-shirt mockup seamlessly from your Printful gallery. Just go to Mockups on the left menu, search for the t-shirt template you want to use in your ad, and add it.

Printful Promo Maker Upload Mockup

4. Preview and download your design

Printful Promo Maker Download

Make sure everything is on point by clicking on the Preview button on the bottom right. Fine-tune it if needed and, when you’re ready to go, click on Save to Download.

You’ll be redirected to a download page where you can save your animated and static designs to your device, in video or image formats. Then, all you’ll have to do is upload it to your social media account and celebrate all the engagement it’s getting!

Final tips for your t-shirt advertising

  • Check the ad specifications of the platform you’re advertising for. Here are the rules for Instagram/Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube.

  • Always measure your results. Test different marketing strategies until you find the one that works best for your audience. After all, there’s no universal truth in marketing.

  • On this blog you’ll find plenty of helpful marketing content for t-shirt businesses like yours. Check out what else our platform can do for you!

Wanna go beyond t-shirts? Discover trending products to sell online in 2023.


By Gabriela Martinez on Nov 29, 2023

Gabriela Martinez

Guest author

Gabriela is a creative copywriter, professional blogger, and passionate content marketer with experience in publicity agencies and international companies. She loves sharing her ideas and new trends to bring inspiration to everyone around her.

Gabriela is a creative copywriter, professional blogger, and passionate content marketer with experience in publicity agencies and international companies. She loves sharing her ideas and new trends to bring inspiration to everyone around her.