Advertisers and marketers are constantly facing the same challenge: Billboards and TV spots are temporary, so you constantly have to revise it, refresh it and keep it in front of your audience.
You know what’s not temporary? Getting a tattoo.
Brands want to create the image of a lifestyle around their products, to leave a lasting message. Mix that with tattoos. Can you picture the Venn diagram in your mind?
Reebok could. They footed the bill for 45 tattoos at SXSW earlier this year in Austin, Texas. All the recipients had to do was “just sign a release, choose any image, and—oh, yeah—agree to have video of your session used to promote sneakers online,” according to Business Insider
The result is the brand’s Free Ride campaign
Reebok isn’t the only one. BI goes on to list Red Bull, ASOS, Sailor Jerry rum, HBO and more who are hopping on the trend of (prepare yourself for this piece of abysmal jargon) “skinvertising.”
also recently reported on the owner of Rapid Realty, a New York real-estate company who had given raises to 40 employees who have tattooed the company logo on themselves.
With Free Ride, the tats weren’t branded, but that’s not always the case. HBO paid for people to get “Game of Thrones”-specific tattoos, for example.
The idea is to provide people with a meaningful piece of body art. Hopefully, every time they look at this inspirational thing, they also think of the brand that gave it to them and spread the word about how cool Reebok is for helping you horrify your mother with yet another tattoo.