Selling Souls and Skin

In 2003 an ad campaign system was launched by an agency in England that featured tattooing the foreheads of university students.

Students will have logos semi-permanently tattooed on their foreheads and will be paid 4.20 pounds an hour (about $7) for three hours, the amount of time they are reckoned to be “out and about” and thereby promoting the product. (CNN)

This seems like it would have been rather cost-effective, though terribly counter-evolutionary, way to advertise.
Today, a college student in the U.S. is auctioning off ad space on his head, with a current bid of $20,950 (U.S.).

“The winner will be able to send me a tattoo or have me go to a tattoo parlour and get a temporary ink tattoo on my forehead and this will be something they choose, a company name or domain name, perhaps their logo,” he told the Radio 4 programme. (BBC)

While the poor fool will likely make enough to pay for his tuition, it’s rather sad that his rehashed idea (we’ve seen human advertising for decades, it’s a tired curse of consumerism) elicts the praise of his mother, who claims her son is “thinking outside the box.”
Oh how comsumerism and corporate subversion have brought people into lockstep of the capitalism march. The seller says, “I wouldn’t go around with 666, the mark of the beast,” but how far away are the golden arches, a swoosh or the marks of other amoral (at best) corporations from that?

3 comments on “Selling Souls and Skin

  1. The things some people will do startles me so. This post reminds me much of the parents that will auction the naming of their child to the person offering the biggest sponsorship.

  2. I remember reading about this, it's appalling. The final invasion of any private and sacred space free of advertising. First it was the inside of public bathroom stalls, now it's our own bodies. What's next? Creating clones solely for advertising purposes?

  3. Grins, I hadn't heard of parents auctioning off the naming of their children. That seems horribly irresponsible. As someone who believes in the importance of names I find it worrying.

    Joanna, I think there's a lot to be worried about when it comes to our further embracing of consumerism and acceptance of advertising. Would clones made for specific companies be so hard to imagine? Perhaps not human clones, but there are already genetically modified pets being marketed that have patented DNA.

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