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Use my body

Go to eBay and type in “your logo on my body” and you’ll pull up at least one auction with some crazy nut selling the opportunity to put your logo on some visible part of his/her body (in the form of a henna tattoo) for up to a three month period. Prices can range from $1000-$50,000, based on the person and the part of the body (a forehead will cost you more than the back of a hand).

Now I know that for most of you this is not news, there are entire sites dedicated to it (http://www.humanadspace.com this guy claims to be the original “forehead for sale”, I didn’t take the time to verify his claim), and the whole idea was pretty well documented by blogs and popular media when it first debuted, so I’m not going to pretend that I am making some startling revelation.

The question I wanted to raise here is: can putting your logo on someone’s body help your company in any way? Is it something that a reputable company should consider as part of their advertising campaign?

Now, for the sake of this “study”, we’ll use a currently active auction on eBay, this guy is selling the following for $20,000:

I will place your company or personal logo or slogan on my forehead with a henna tattoo for 1 month. Included with this auction is a guarantee to spend at least 2 hours per day in public view, and distribute business cards or flyers to anyone who inquires about the artwork.  No profanity or morally objectionable material. Henna colors are limited to black, browns, oranges, reds, and yellows.”

Okay, so you get 60 hours of advertising 60/20,000 = $333.33 an hour. The next question is, how many people actually see the logo? You need to take into consideration that even though the two hours might be spent in the busiest mall in the country, and our society does become ruder every day, there are still a large number of people out there who consider it impolite to stare unashamedly at someone, even if that person has a tattoo on their forehead.

Plus, you need to remember that only your LOGO is on their forehead and unless you already have a widely recognized logo the chances of the logo being associated with your company are very slim, the exception would be if you simply had your company name or website address on the forehead – i.e. LogoDesignBlog.com, and even then someone would have to be fairly close and staring your “billboard” in the face to read it.

Now the upside to this would be that anyone that actually saw the logo, or talked to your human billboard about it would probably never forget your company.

The real value of the tattoo is in any news coverage that your purchase gets, the first few companies to rent “body real estate” got a very good return on their money, simply because of the national news coverage that they got because of it. Sadly, the media seems to have moved on, and even though you may get some local coverage of it it’s probably not enough to justify the $333/hour rate.

I’m not going to make a call either way here, that is up to you, but it seems to me that the $20,000 would be much better spent on a bunch of TV AD spots, where you get an entire 30-60 seconds of a large number of viewers time, than on the few local people that happen to see your company logo. On the other hand, if you are able to get a “billboard” locally, and you can get the local media to make a big enough fuss about it, you may be able to generate enough of a buzz to make it worth it. Only you know what is best for your company.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x