Do you ever look at your body and wonder how much money you could make as a human billboard? If the answer is no, you’re probably in the majority.
If it’s yes, then you are not alone.
A similar thought must have crossed the mind of Australian Olympian Victoria Mitchell, prior to launching her profile on crowd funding site Star Stadium, in hopes of generating enough money to finance her training.
Mitchell is selling a skin space on her ankle about the size of a quarter for $30,000. She will use this money to fund her training and compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Victoria Mitchell has already successfully met her goal of $10,000 through Star Stadium to fund her training in 2014. She is not alone in her unconventional plan to raise money though. There are others willing to sell their skin space for advertising, although their motivations may not be quite as grand.
Another athlete, Michigan resident and professional wrestler Eric Hartsburg, accepted $15,000 to get a Mitt Romney logo tattooed on the side of his face. After Romney lost the election, Hartsburg decided to opt for laser tattoo removal.
Karolyne Smith from Salt Lake City volunteered to get the website of online casino Golden Palace, tattooed across her forehead in bold black letters. The casino paid Smith $10,000 for this quite permanent and likely painful tattoo.
Billy Gibby was the first man to ever get a tattoo paid for by a brand. He has over 38 brand tattoos on his body and now wants to get laser tattoo removal, perhaps to restore some of the dignity he lost in having the names of porn sites and now defunct businesses etched into his skin.
The World of Tattoo Advertising
There are also a handful of businesses that have come out with “branded for life” promotions. Ecko is one such company with an ongoing promotion, offering a discount of 20% off for life for those few truly loyal customers.
Similarly, a small grilled cheese chain called Melt, offers a 25% off for life deal. Perhaps more enticing is free food for life; Casa Sanchez in San Francisco and Hot Doug’s in Chicago will offer up free meals for life for their logo on your body. And if you work for Rapid Realty in NYC, the company will give you a 15% pay raise for your permanent display of loyalty.
Considering the extremes to which some others have gone, Victoria Mitchell’s ankle space seems almost quaint, easily covered by a sock or pant leg. Although for some brands this could well be worth it, considering that Mitchell is a legitimate international athlete with an impressive track record.
Ironically though, the current International Association of Athletics Federations rules prohibit displaying tattoos that are viewed as a form of advertising. This means that the potential tattoo may not even be seen during the 2016 Olympics. Perhaps Mitchell is not only trying to raise money to fund her training, but also to generate some buzz and free publicity around her, all of which could help her to reach her future goals.
Could tattoos be the next wave in advertising? Sporting name brand clothing or products is nothing new, especially for professional athletes, but a permanent logo forever on your body is quite another. Although forever is not quite forever anymore when it comes to tattoos. It looks like the option of laser tattoo removal could be sweetening the deal for some. Perhaps there should be a crowdfunding site for tattoo removal?
Let us know your thoughts about tattoo advertising in the comments section below.