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.
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.
– 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