Some people get tattooed for love, some for family, others still for aesthetics – but others have opted to go under the needle for more head-scratchingly dubious reasons. Brands of all sorts are constantly looking for ways to grow their audience and enforce stronger connections with their consumers. In a cringe-worthy development, some companies and franchises have set their sights on tattooing as a new and, admittedly, somewhat extreme way to get under their customers' skin – literally.
Marketing goes beyond skin-deep
Companies are constantly seeking ways to make their products and services an inextricable part of their customers' lives, and some recent marketing initiatives have taken that directive to heart in a very literal way. In what surely sounds like the ultimate dare but, in reality, is just unfettered advertising gusto, some brands have put a challenge to their audience to tattoo their logo onto their bodies. Of course, even the most stalwart brand advocate may hesitate to make that level of commitment, so naturally, companies have traditionally offered special promotions to sweeten the tattoovertising deal.
The Washington Nationals baseball team's minor league affiliate, the Syracuse Chiefs, roused fans to action with a recent tattoo day promotion: The first 36 fans to show up to the stadium and receive a tattoo – yes, a real one – of the team's logo would be granted free general admission seats for life to any future Chiefs game. If that wasn't enough, the tattoo-happy fans would also be receiving a special blacklight-sensitive marking as part of their team spirit tattoo to help guard against fraud and counterfeit tattoos.
The idea may sound bizarre, but it's far from the first time a business has encouraged their fans to get tattooed in their name. One of the most famous examples traces its roots to San Francisco, and the Casa Sanchez taqueria and Mexican food restaurant. In an off-the-cuff and questionably thought-out promotion, the family restaurant offered free burritos for life to anyone who got the eatery's logo tattooed onto their body.
Permanence, short-sightedness and tattoo regret
It doesn't take a professional prognosticator to realize that such promotions are great for drumming up interest and getting your name into headlines, but ultimately display a serious deficiency in future planning, both on behalf of the business and the consumer. Side-stepping the issue of changing tastes completely, the fact is that businesses – especially small and family-owned businesses – are not guaranteed indefinite futures. Even the potential boom brought on by tattoo-related publicity may peter out, leaving some entrepreneurs to close up shop; and leaving a host of embarrassed and nonplussed tattooed customers in their wake.
If bargain-hungry customers don't seem to understand that forever means forever, then neither do many of the businesses flaunting such promotions. Even seemingly low-cost concessions like free burritos can add up over a long enough period of time. In fact, the Sanchez family found that, in the long run, it was they who ended on the losing end of a transaction, as SFGate reported that if every one of the only 40 people who took them up on their offer chose to redeem it regularly, they'd be out a cool $5.8 million.
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