Saturday, July 02, 2005

Forehead goes for $15,000 on e-bay.

I've been preaching about the ongoing decline of old school advertising. I've been on my pulpit calling for repentence followed by an innovative "born again" marketing and advertising paradigm. The old ways aren't working like they used to, which presents a wonderful opportunity for innovative thinkers to help redefine the business.

But lawdy, lawdy, say this ain't it.

A woman in Utah has been tattoed with name of a casino tattooed smack dab in the middle of her forehead in return for $15,000 to send her son to a private school. Apparently his grades were slipping in public school and Karolyne Smith offered her forehead on e-bay to be used as a walking billboard.

Crass commercialism has reached a new low. You must give her credit though. This is innnovative thinking. It strikes me as wrong, but I can't pinl down why it's so wrong.

  • It was her idea.
  • She was certainly being selfless.
  • The casino bought the space fair and square.
  • Her son will be able to attend a private school for at least one year.

It's ironic that just a few years ago, NPR's All Things Considered aired an April Fool's prank about a young man who had a logo tattooed somewhere prominently. It was a brilliant piece of social satire that at the time struck me as patently absurd..

We live in strange times.


sully said...

I always wanted to figure out how to laserprint logos on condoms, so when you unrolled them, you could read them, or perhaps there would be some silly picture. Condoms that would never work would be ones with rulers printed on them. Anyway, we could distribute these condoms to kids in high schools. Losing your virginity could be sponsored by Coca-Cola. And then, after this brainstorm, I decided that it was evil. So it never happened.

I imagine the guilt that the tattooed lady's kid feels. What if he flunks out of private school? 15 grand is some private school's first year tuition. I also think that the prestige and pleasure of going to a private school will be offset by the relentless teasing this kid will get - not only for being so poor his mom has to get a casino logo on her forehead to pay for it, but also because he'd be pretty ashamed to bring other kids home I'd think. Sure it's altruistic what she did, but the medium is the message, and the medium is distasteful.

I like your blog.
Thank you for it.

BS said...

Interesting post!Raises lots of questions.Apparently what she has done is shocking and unacceptable. But when one analyzes the situation the way you did,it clearly shows that nothing went wrong anywhere!Yet,it still strikes me as an "unconventional" way to earn money, and from the Casino's point of view, advertise your product!Can't help thinking that its kinda creative yet it still doesn't feel right.
But why not..I mean we wear T's with product logos all over them.So the main different here is that now one can have a logo "embedded" on their skin.Gosh!Its a crazy world we live in.

Jill said...

Sully, it didn't occur to me the burden this must place on that poor kid. Great point! Thanks for the compliment--I need all the encouragement I can get.

And Beauty Seeker, I'm with you. Everyone involved are consenting adults, but it just ain't right. If nothing else, it makes a mockery of good taste.

I happened across someone else who had auctioned his forehead as a billboard on ebay. Whatever happened to selling a kidney or surrogate mothering? It's certainly entropy at work. I just wonder what the next new low point will be.

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