Gildan Activewear

  • Activity at the kiosk

    Activity at the kiosk

  • The Gildan webcam crew in action

    The Gildan webcam crew in action

  • Promotion outside the tradeshow booth

    Promotion outside the tradeshow booth

  • Kiosk wall design and t-shirt station mockup

    Kiosk wall design and t-shirt station mockup

  • The Genuine Gildan homepage

    The Genuine Gildan homepage

  • Individual Charity Gallery example

    Individual Charity Gallery example

  • Charity testimonial example

    Charity testimonial example

  • Facebook fan page and example of tradeshow poster

    Facebook fan page and example of tradeshow poster

Can a T-Shirt Help Make a Better World?


As part of a larger long-term corporate citizenship strategy, NATIONAL worked with Montreal-based apparel manufacturer Gildan Activewear to develop and launch a corporate social responsibility platform across North America. Called “Gildan Genuine Stewardship”, the platform was intended to enhance Gildan’s corporate reputation by building on the organization’s strengths in labour rights, ethics and governance, community investment and environmental protection.  Its central message was that everyone could have a positive impact on their environment and community.

Our objectives were as follows:

  • raise awareness of Gildan and the Genuine Stewardship brand among buyers, consumers and employees and their communities;
  • communicate the importance of community investment and volunteerism;
  • educate stakeholders about stewardship best practices and on the company’s initiatives;
  • reinforce stewardship in the industry including water and climate impacts, certified labour practices, community support, ethics and governance;
  • build a community among Gildan’s consumers and enhance employee engagement.

Creative Solution

To launch the stewardship brand, NATIONAL created an integrated marketing campaign called “I Support”, which encouraged people to talk about the charities they supported and how they had a positive impact. We devised the slogan “Can a t-shirt help make a better world?” and a website for people to post a photograph and their pledge of support.

Launched at a Toronto trade show in January 2010 (followed by shows in Las Vegas and Long Beach), the campaign solicited visitors using pre-show and on-site promotion to visit the Gildan booth, register their favourite charity online, describe why they supported this cause, personally sign a t-shirt, and have a webcam photo taken and uploaded to the website.

Each supporter's photo and story was displayed in the Gallery and everyone was invited to share their pictures and stories on Facebook and Twitter. Online visitors could vote for their favourite stories and/or nominate their own charities, and upload their own photos as well for inclusion in the campaign. Using an analytical formula to calculate total supporters, "Likes" and page views, 10 finalist charities were shortisted for a chance to receive a charitable donation of $US 100,000.

A key component of this campaign was the marketing communications strategy, which was almost exclusively online. As part of our marketing plan, the team researched key online influencers, including bloggers, portals and Facebook sites to engage charities, consumers and media in the campaign. We created and launched a Facebook page and built an application to integrate it with the website. We also provided best practices, metrics and recommendations to help Gildan set up its social media team. 

Impact & Results

In January 2011, a panel of judges selected Homeboy Industries as the winner based on the alignment of their work with the principles of Gildan Genuine Stewardship. The “I Support” campaign provided Gildan with a clear competitive brand differentiator, allowed Gildan to change the conversation with their customers beyond t-shirts. As a company that ‘walks the talk’, Gildan has a credible platform to redefine the importance of corporate citizenship in the industry. More than 2,000 stories were submitted to during this campaign. In fact, the campaign was so well received by Gildan’s partners, distributors and customers, that Gildan is doing it again in 2011 and doubling its commitment with a donation of $200,000 to the winners!