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Another T-Shirt from the Y

January 9, 2008

So I picked up my annual YMCA T-shirt yesterday. Here it is. y-tshirt-005.jpg

I’ve been trying to figure out why the Y gives me a new T-shirt every year. I assume its primary function is for branding, but I can’t figure out how exactly the brand is helped.
Everybody at the Y gets one. We know we are at the Y. We all pay for a membership there. Most of us only wear it at the Y. And few if any of us actually need another T-shirt (I’ve noticed no shirtless people there). It’s not even particularly cool or made of some high-tech fabric.

Consequential Alternatives

So why give us all a T-shirt? Or maybe a better question is: what other way could they have used the same money (our money, by the way) for a premium that meets a real need most of us have in common? How about…

  • a water bottle? Precious few fountains exist in these facilities and even fewer of us carry bottles around. A water bottle would encourage us to drink more water both in the gym and elsewhere. But then again, many of us have more bottles than we need and we don’t use what we have.
  • a towel? We all sweat plenty and our Y doesn’t supply towels.
  • noise reducing headphones? All of us have our heads plugged in (is that called being “ipodded”?), but the doctors say we need noise cancelers so we don’t blow out our eardrums while tuning out the environment. Some models aren’t all that pricey and bought in the kind of quantities the Y could buy, I’ll bet they would be very reasonable.
  • headphone clips? So maybe the phones are too pricey. But maybe someone makes a really cool clip that is designed for work out clothing to keep those floppy speaker wires from bouncing all over the place.
  • an access code for a free month or two at Men’s Health’s or Women’s Health’s websites. We could all use the kind of workout information these sites provide.

body-by-god.jpgHeck, I could have sold them the High Performance Health or Body by God or any of a couple dozen health-and-fitness titles customized high-p-health.jpgespecially for the Y at a price nearly equivalent to the T’s and we’d all have enjoyed WAY more value.

Or, they could have simply taken that much money off our monthly fee or bought another machine or hired a new staffer. I would have never missed the clothing.

I’m not knocking my Y. I love the place. But come on, People, can’t we work a little harder to find premiums that fit us better than a T-shirt?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    January 10, 2008 4:08 pm

    My suggestion is that you ask them. My best guess is that this is part of their brand campaign – not everyone is a YMCA life member – the t-shirt might be well received to new members who have recently joined the ranks. Don’t they give the shirts away at the beginning of the year? Don’t gyms historically have double membership enrollments in January? In my experience life long donors/members get pretty hacked when someone new gets something they, as a long time donor/member are not eligible to receive. Doesn’t your church collect items for homeless men? They would love to have your brand spanking new shirt – pay it forward.

  2. davidpleach permalink
    January 10, 2008 5:00 pm

    I love it when you disagree, Laura. Murat is gonna think you are being too tough on me. Your point as to why a T-shirt is a legitimate premium is well-taken and I would not disagree with any of it. Nor would I suggest the Y has done something wrong. But the point of Consequential Value is that premiums can sometimes be something meets a need other than advancing the brand. I want to need, keep, and use my premiums whenever possible.

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