“Clothing with a Message”

 

Blue Balls Gear’s previous post explained how Blue Balls Gear began. This posts outlines the philosophy behind implementation.

After seeing the success of the PINK movement’s wide outreach, Blue Balls Gear looked at all the T-shirts on the market and saw that a large part of this market consisted of “gag or funny” shirts, art or were brand name oriented. Blue Balls Gear asked what about clothing with “positive messaging”? Would it be possible to develop clothing that carries a message whereas, the message could highlight or bring attention to other worthy causes as Pink had done? It was decided that the business model would be based on this concept and would seek to merge profit/non-profit in a beneficial common effort increasing awareness and stimulating donation through a profit making enterprise.

Now that Blue Balls Gear knew what direction it wanted to take with it’s philosophy and business model, it was fortunate to have been asked to participate in a local cancer awareness charity event. Blue Balls Gear became a proud business sponsor of the Stephen C. Smith Memorial Regatta held annually in Tallahassee, Florida. The Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that presents the regatta annually for the benefit of the American Cancer Society in memory of Stephen Smith, a local sailor who died from a rare form of leukemia at the age of 29. Cash and donation in form of the Blue Balls Gear’s “Get Your Pair in the Air” windsurfer T-shirts were donated in full to this worthy cause.

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Blue Balls Gear found the charity benefit experience very rewarding. Blue Balls Gear decided to continue to support awareness and encourage donation to ALL types of cancer – mens – womens – childrens…all forms and and all types. This philosophy is now the driving force in our business model. However, our roots are based  in the men’s cancer issue and have decided to base this issue as our foundation objective. The goal is to successfully build a successful awareness and fund-raising partnership between a private sector entity/charitable worthy cause to the benefit of both.

The cause of choice would be to raise awareness and education for men’s testicular cancer, the most common form of cancer in men aged 15-35. After extensive research, Blue Balls Gear found that Men’s Testicular Cancer  awareness was a cancer issue either not fully accepted or widely known of by males and whose message was in need of greater exposure. The difficulty would be reaching males, especially young males with a message they would respond to? Men and especially young men do not talk about this subject. Blue Balls Gear grew up with virtually no knowledge of this issue and virtually no communication amongst other males about this cancer. Blue Balls Gear knew that to increase awareness would take something unique ….from it’s own experiences Blue Balls Gear just knew that males were just not going to respond to a “blue ribbon!”. It was going to take something that was unusual in it’s approach, something that males could relate to and something that was acceptable to the demographic at large.

Blue Balls Gear looked back at it’s younger days and growing experiences and knew there was one underlying factor that controlled all social activity (or inactivity) in young males…”How to Meet Girls!” Hell, there was a book written with that as the title! No one Blue Balls Gear grew up with ever ordered it because of fear of being caught doing so…doing so meant weakness and every guy needed to project total control and mastery over the subject – GIRLS!

Blue Balls Gear knew it needed to develop a product that was indirect to the issue, but one that could have an impact to positively capture attention.  It needed to be able to stimulate conversation amongst other males and with females. Blue Balls Gear’s experience with females was to be friendly, have some humor, and to be at the ready to perform or do an act or feat (athletics were good and if not some stupid feat like jumping off a tower or if still not enough swimming with sharks or alligators would do just fine….and Blue Balls Gear had plenty of close calls with both of these critters growing up in South Florida!). Hell, a major turning point in Blue Balls Gear’s life was when several friends in Junior College asked Blue Balls Gear to skip class to go “bang-sticking” sharks in the Gulf of Mexico! This endeavor consisted of chumming up Gulf sharks and then jumping in the water and trying to kill them with short metal sticks with shotgun shells on the end of them. “Crazy!!!” This is where Blue Balls Gear started to question direction in life and seriously started contemplating going off to college and working toward a degree and a career.

Also important was how you dressed, very important! It always amazed Blue Balls Gear that a T-shirt with a good solid message could be an attractant or maybe just an “ice-breaker” for male/female conversation. For example, there was a sail company in S. Florida that was called Hard Sails. Their T-shirt had the Hard Sails triangular logo and the motto “Sail with a Hard On!” across the back. Blue Balls Gear met more girls wearing that shirt than any Gant shirt and Bass Weejuns shoes could ever do. Hell, a pair of Levi cut-offs and a Hard Sails shirt should have been outlawed! It was like hunting in a “baited – field!” Blue Balls Gear wore that T-shirt until it virtually fell off the body from the rips, tears and holes in it……and that was years and years later.

From the above experiences, the “National Blue Balls Awareness Month” T-shirt was derived. It was direct to the target audience and added a spin that was harmless, while both males and females had some form of experience or identity with the subject. It would be perfect for targeting young males and university aged students by capturing attention and be the subtle prelude to the subject of cancer prevention for guys. It’s aim was to interface males and females through their social interactions. Social interactions need conversation and conversation need a subject matter to start it.

Blue Balls Gear is based in a North Florida city with three separate colleges with a huge college scene school and bar social life. Once the marketing program started, “It Worked”! Interestingly enough, the printer made a mistake on the second printing and printed messaging on the front of shirts not the original backside. When this was known to several college guys Blue Balls Gear was amazed how they would prefer print on the fronts over backs. Perplexed, Blue Balls Gear found that socially the message on the front was in line with direct eye-to-eye contact with a female, hence a greater attention grabber and conversation starter! In addition, Blue Balls Gear has yet to have a single female not just “Like”, but “Really Like” the shirt. They too identify with their youthful experiences discovering guys and most importantly they are happy with the success of PINK for females and see the potential for the messaging to increase cancer awareness in males and save more lives!

By adding the Testicular Cancer Awareness –  Support and Donate to the sleeve….. the conversations began and awareness grew! It was now not just a unique “catchy” T-shirt, but one that provided “Clothing with a Message” and “Purchase for a Purpose!”….it would be the conversation starter and the continuing thought way after the conversations ended.

To be continued………………………….

http://www.blueballsgear.com is the official on-line storefront for Blue Balls Gear and operates under the official business name and USPTO approved trademark Blue Balls.

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