If you have the chance to sell your skin, do it

By Matt Gillis

It is time to add a new category to the field of advertising. No longer are advertisements retained to print and broadcast, but they are now making their way on to consumers themselves.

Borrowing from the concept of endorsement advertising in which a person of importance supports a particular brand, companies are now beginning to hire everyday citizens to gain exposure for their products.

However, there is one major difference. These companies are not paying these citizens for their spoken recommendation, but instead for their skin as unconventional advertising space.

A PR firm in Japan is capitalizing on the simple fact that men spend a lot of time looking at women’s legs. “Zettai ryouiki,” or “Absolute Territory” in English, is paying young women to rent the skin on their thighs as moving billboards.

The Japenese term “zettai ryouiki” is used to describe the exposed skin between the hem of a female’s skirt and the top of her knee-high or thigh-high socks. This obsession of bare skin plays a role in many of Japan’s magna comics and anime cartoons and represents a cultural fetish.

Absolute Territory began to seek out attractive females over the age of 18 with a minimum of 20 connections on social networking sites to wear advertisements in the form of temporary stickers on their thighs for at least eight hours a day. The women are also required post pictures of themselves with the visible advertisement onto their social networking sites.

Without much difficulty, the company has registered over 1300 women’s thigh space as of November 2012. The women can earn up to $128 per day.

Several years ago, professional athletes were also hired as skin billboards using temporary tattoos. While appearing on Celebrity Boxing, Danny Bonaduce, Tonya Harding, and Todd Bridges joined boxer Bernard Hopkins in sporting tattoos listing the casino’s website on their backs for five to six figures a piece.

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While the concept of skin advertisements may seem inventive, I believe it has similar roots in the idea of brand logos. The concept of using one’s body as a means of advertising a brand has been around for several years in the form of clothing logos.

The idea of selling one’s skin as a moving billboard as a form of income may be a smarter concept than it originally seems. Consumers are finally able to make money for advertising brands that we have been paying to advertise for in the form of brand logos on clothing for so many years.

This may even be a form of advertising justice, so if you have the chance to sell your skin, I say, do it.

Reference list:

–       Bahadur, N. (2013, March 13). Japanese Women Use Their Thighs As Advertising Space. Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 15, 2013, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/22/japanese-women-thighs-advertisements-advertising-billboards_n_2741770.html

–       McCarthy, M., & TODAY, U. (2002, April 3). USATODAY.com – Ad tattoos get under some people’s skin. USA TODAY: Latest World and US News – USATODAY.com. Retrieved September 15, 2013, from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/advertising/2002-04-04-tattoo.htm

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9 thoughts on “If you have the chance to sell your skin, do it

  1. I agree that advertising on flesh has been around for some time now but we can agree that it has been in a somewhat professional environment (i.e. boxing). What japan is doing is somewhat degrading and smart. I’m not sure if I am more upset that women are being exposed and degrading by this kind of work, or if I am more upset that I will probably find myself spending more money. None the less, different countries have different laws so it’s always interesting seeing what other cultures are doing to have that one-on-one conversations with their consumers.

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  2. I think this is really interesting. Although I do think that this can be a tab bit degrading by the placement of the ad. Upper thigh? I suppose it does draw more attention to one area since the thigh high socks is something that is a part of their fashion. Thinking more about it, I don’t think it’s that bad of an idea. For such a long time, advertisers have put celebrities on commercials and ads because they want us to associate their product with a person. This is almost better than a celebrity because it works simply as a way to get the brand or logo in your face.

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  3. I think its a unique way to get your brand out there. People’s tattoos draw attention to them. Everyone always wants to know what they are. If you’re willing to give up some skin you might as well make some money for it! There are a lot of beach volleyball players out there that where temporary tattoos of their sponsors on their skin, and they have a lot of it! It sort of reminds me of how NASCAR drivers cover their cars with company logos- other athletes just have to use their skin!

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  4. This advertisement is really interesting and creative! This advertisement use sexual appeal with woman’s thigh. I think the advertisement in the video is really effective, because this advertise the erotic movie.

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  5. Going off what Roberto said, this is pretty nuts. It definitely points to what is acceptable in different countries. When you think about it however ad space on a women’s thigh could be somewhat comparable to woman in America who wears tight branded t shirts at conventions and other public branding events. Would I put an image on my thigh if I got paid? Probably yes.

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  6. This is very interesting. At first I thought it was a little ridiculous, but you made a good point that people wear advertisements on themselves all the time in the form of logos. As a college student, if I was paid up to $128 a day just to wear a temporary tattoo to advertise a company, I would do it.

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  7. My main concern with this type of advertising is the image of the brand. What if one of the girls wearing the brand’s logo is filmed vomiting after a drunken night while she is wearing the sticker? Or, what if one of the boxers is seen out at a bar getting into an (unprofessional) boxing match while he or she is wearing their body advertisement? Yes, it does garner attention, but it also calls into question the same type of things that need to be considered when a brand selects a spokesperson. There are now essentially 1300 spokespeople for these brands wandering the streets with thigh sticker advertisements.

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  8. I think it’s a little absurd and a little desperate on the part of PR agency to use human skin as a means of advertisement. I agree with a lot of the comments posted above that yes it’s creative and something that will grab the attention of viewers but I also think it’s it’s a little degrading to women. As Nicoletta mentioned earlier tit becomes relatively harder to keep track of the endorser when they are so many in number and lowers the credibility of the movie to be taken well.

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  9. I can’t believe someone could make $128 dollars a day wearing these tattoos on the thighs. I’m curious if this will catch on in America like it did in Japan.

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