Bag-For-Tattoo Promotion Demonstrates Plummeting Value of Flesh-Based Ads

Categories: Business
ChromeTattoo.jpg
That didn't cost an arm AND a leg, but still...
San Francisco-based bag-maker, Chrome Industries, offered free tattoos at the recent Interbike show in Las Vegas. Of course, this all depends on your definition of the word "free": The promotion apparently included a logo-tattoo-for-schwag deal whose meager rate of exchange suggest the possibility of a Black Tuesday-like plummet in the value of skin-based advertising.

In 1999, taqueria Casa Sanchez offered free lunch for life to customers with a company logo tattoo. Back then, taqueria owners gagged when they realized that the four dozen or so tattooed customers could theoretically eat $5.8 million worth of lunches. Fast-forward to the less-for-more present. The blog thebikebrothers says Chrome offered a bag and a pair of shoes -- total value just over $200 -- for trade show attendees willing to get a Chrome logo tattoo. If true, that suggests that, in just 10 years, the value of a logo tattoo has dropped by around $99,800, representing a possible 99.997 percent decrease in on-skin ad rates.

The value of advertising in all venues has dropped during recent years, as Craigslist, Google, and other online venues has turned ads into an ever-cheaper commodity. Could the ubiquity of tattoos have done the same thing for flesh-based promotions?

We left messages with Chrome's marketing department, and with Everlasting Tattoo artist Justin May, the featured tattooer at the convention, to get details about the promotion. We hadn't heard back by press time.

In the meantime, we'll note that Forbes.com reports advertising is expected to grow only 2.8 percent this year. If this trend of gradual recovery were to apply to the human-body based ad market, we suggest readers hold out until 2015. By then, rates should have risen to a bag, some shoes, plus a cap.

Update:
Thought we didn't hear back from Chrome yesterday, a representative who'd seen this item today wrote us the following note.

Deals were not cut in exchange for swag. We were beyond flattered to learn that two attendees had selected the Griffin, and humbled, thought they deserved a special token of thanks and gratitude in exchange for their continued die-hard support.
Got that? Tatooees weren't given schwag in exchange for putting logos on their body. They were given schwag in exchange for their continued die-hard support, as expressed by putting logos on their bodies.



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