Expert advice from Gordon Glenister, director general of the BPMA

I am fascinated by the use of branded merchandise and clothing in election campaigns, and took a particular interest last year in the US election and Trump’s famous ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan. Trump’s use of that was a masterstroke. Ask most people what Trump’s slogan was and, whether a fan or not, they will be able to recite it.

As the campaign progressed, a whole range of T-shirt printers emerged across the country, ready and waiting to print messages following each of the candidate’s one-liners. Not only did they sell like hot cakes, but they were also picked up by the world’s media. Some bright spark even created some branded toilet paper.

Now we have all the major UK parties vying for our vote, and the supporters of each are using branded T-shirts to convey their messages. As we know, however, garments are not just there to create campaign awareness, but also to generate valued funds for the parties. If you are a supporter of a party, you will wear your T-shirt with pride: it says ‘This is who I am’.

I’ve examined all the parties’ online merchandise stores and I think there are many missed opportunities here to create a fresh and exciting range of merchandise and apparel. With a UK garment decoration industry that’s able to turn around stock and print quickly, I wonder if we will see some of the trends over here in the UK that followed the US election?

If you have any questions or topics that you would like Gordon to address, please email [email protected] with ‘BPMA’ in the subject line.