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Tattoo Your Way to a Fifteen Percent Raise

Rapid Reality

I wonder if I’ll ever get tired of the tattoos as advertising story. I doubt it. Because it’s such a silly idea for everyone involved — the participants inevitably trade their fleshy (and permanent) billboards at too low a price, and the corporate sponsors tend to pay too much for a short-lived PR stunt — it always strikes me fresh and therefore interesting. When I say interesting, mind you, I mean interesting enough to post it to ChasNote and make it the top story on my Twitter feed for the next 20 minutes. Not interesting enough to find out more about Rapid Realty or its value proposition, or interesting enough to remember its name tomorrow, even though I’ve taken the time to write it on my site. From Ad Freak, where you can also see interviews with several inked employees.

Some 40 employees have already done so—either because they love the firm, need the money, or both. “I was like, Why am I throwing my money away when I could get myself from $25,000 to $40,000 for the same amount of work?” Stephanie Barry, who might not understand what 15 percent means, tells CBS News. “My wife was a little concerned but I said, you know what, it was the best commitment I could think of,” said another employee, who’s been on the job all of one month.

I sure hope he’s got a likeness of his wife tattooed on the other bicep!

Tattoo Advertising at London Olympics

Olympic runner Nick Symmonds auctioned off a temporary tattoo on his shoulder to Milwaukee-based design and creative agency Hanson Dodge, whose winning bid was $11,100.

Because of sponsorship and endorsement rules imposed by USA Track and Field, Symmonds must obscure the tattoo while he’s actually participating in a race (he uncovers it before and after races). But still, an Olympian signing up to endorse a brand and paint its logo on his body for eleven thousand bucks?! Even if Hanson Dodge did throw in some free web design services, it seems like a ridiculously below-market give-away. Back in 2005 a guy named Andrew Fischer collected $37,375 from sleep-remedy maker SnorStop for a temporary tattoo on his regular non-Olypian forehead.

More at NY Times.

Fingernail Advertising

Logos on findernails

TrendHunter calls it Nail Art Advertising, but it’s not clear that KFC or Subway is paying anyone for the right to put logos on those fingernails. More like fingernail fan-clubbing. In any case, this is a vastly better idea than tattooing a logo on your skin.

Forehead Advertising Tattoos: Best or Worst of the Decade?

Today’s NY Times Magazine featured the Best Ideas of a Decade. Under the heading “The Most ‘Off” Picks” they listed foreheads bought and sold as ad space:

“2005: Can Work Only Once? ‘Forehead Billboards.’ A 21-year-old named Andrew Fischer auctioned off the space on his forehead for $37,375 on eBay, thereafter attaching a small temporary tattoo advertising an over-the-counter sleep remedy. The company, SnoreStop, calculates that it received nearly $1 million worth of publicity. And a woman named Kari Smith leased her forehead for a permanent tattooed ad for the online gambling and entertainment venture”

Thirty-seven thousand dollars for a temporary tattoo? I’d call that a good deal for Andrew Fisher, and it sounds like the campaign did quite well for his client. Kari Smith, however, sold her forehead — permanently — for only $10,000. Oy.

My favorite variation on this theme is Chanel’s temporary creme tattoos.
Chanel Creme Tattoos

Logos on Your Forehead By Chanel

Simply wear this headband after applying your Ryan McSorley Skin by Chanel:

Chanel Logo-pressing Headband

And — voila! — all your friends will know you use only the finest skin-care products because they’ll see the Chanel logo that’s temporarily embossed on your forehead.

Chanel Logo Forehead


“It did get me thinking about the future of branding and technology. Imagine if the lotion itself had the ability to create those branded impressions. Or if the samples created a brand on your cheek… unlocking the full version gave you the full experience brand free? Much like software? Or what if tattoos came in creme form? Or imagine if you are what you eat, and small symbols appeared on the skin of your wrist showing what you are made of — fun motivation to get some eating healthier?”

Creme tattoos? Certainly a much better idea than Ray Bans tattooed around your eyes or the Golden Palace Casino logo on your forehead.

Tattoo Advertising: $40k per Forehead

I found this listing on eBay.

eBay Listing for Ad Tattoos

Truth be told, I found it on Digg while I was searching for “advertising” stories. (I’m not currently looking to place the ChasNote logo on someone’s head!)

My favorite part is where the sellers veer from AAAA/IAB standard terms and conditions: “No Returns Accepted.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve come across enterprising individuals offering branded tattoos to the highest bidder. Three years ago a Salt Lake City woman made $10,000 in exchange for tattooing (in letters an inch tall, per the agreement) on her forehead. By my very rough math, I calculated that she earned an effective CPM of just $11.42.