Skin Billboards?

We all know that advertising is growing. We see it on a daily basis, everywhere; in shop windows, on the side of a bus, in the hairdressers, you get the point. And tattoos, they are becoming more and more visibly popular. So it was only a matter of time before the two became intertwined.
Tulisa on the X-Factor got into trouble with Ofcom earlier in the year for subliminally advertising with one of her tattoos, which also happened to be the name of her newly released perfume. And there have been dozens of stories of people having the name or logo of their workplace tattooed on them. A new and modern way of advertising the business you work for? Easier than carrying around a business card, perhaps? And makes for interesting conversation in introductions.
But since when has it become socially acceptable for tattoos to be a form of advertising? Yes, I suppose they advertise the artist of the piece, but only if you ask the wearer. Are the next generation of 20 somethings going to be walking, talking billboards, advertising their job and their favourite brand of soft drink?
Don’t get me wrong, each to their own when it comes to tattoos, but seriously who wants to look like the back pages of your local paper?
My real bugbear is the sudden appearance of tattoos in advertising. Of course, I understand that some of it is down to them now being more socially acceptable and entering into mainstream society more, so it seems only right that models should be allowed to have tattoos, but it’s the digital tattoos that really get me. Tattoos that aren’t real, just photoshopped into the image for the purpose of making the advert more eye catching.
Take for example a copy of ‘voucher-me’ that I found at work today. For those not in the know, Voucher-me is a booklet containing reviews and discount vouchers for local restaurant and bars. The front cover of this edition was a baby, covered in digital (obviously) tattoos. My question, since when has a tattooed baby been cool, and how does that advertise food discount vouchers?
The reason for the use of this image for advertising? Well its controversial, eye-catching, attention grabbing and unusual (apparently). Personally I think it’s a little wrong that a tattoo (or several) can be used as a ‘cool’ advertising tool, as for some people they are an everyday thing in their lives and not something from a freak show. A digital image of a baby with sleeve tattoos and a belly piece is ‘cool’ and everyone wants to be ‘cool’ so they will buy from this booklet so they can be ‘cool’. I suppose it depends on what you think is cool and what isn’t.
Personally I’m boycotting Voucher-me (I’m cool enough thanks, without condoning fake tattoos on babies), and others who decide a tattoo is a good advertising tool, (unless it is actually advertising something for a tattoo) instead of seeing them for what they really are, an art form, unique to the individual, and an expression of their being.

What do you guys think? Is it cool to see tattoos in advertising and the general media more these days, or is it wrong to show tattoos as a tool for marketing?

Rachel spends her day chasing other people round the office, weekends shaking cocktails and the rest of the time looking at tattoos, reading and playing with the cat. 

(header image source)

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