Selling Your Skin for Tattoo Advertisements Isn't So Crazy

nick symmondThere's an enterprising young man out there who has decided to sell his body to the highest bidder. Well, kind of. Nick Symmonds is an American runner who's ranked number one in the United States and sixth in the world for the 800-meter dash, and naturally, he's looking for sponsors as he prepares for the Olympics this summer in London. But what's a runner to do? Their outfits are too skimpy to sew on a paid-for logo ... but that didn't stop Nick. He got creative.

On eBay, Nick put his left bicep up for auction. He'll make a temporary tattoo of the highest bidder's Twitter handle and will wear the glorified sticker on his arm for each event in 2012. Before you start arguing that selling your skin is a type of prostitution or is somehow sleazy or evil, consider this.


We're all walking billboards, we're just not getting paid for it. Quite the opposite, actually. We hand over top dollar for those labels -- some of us more than others. A Chanel purse with the emblematic "C"s cost upwards of $3,000, and yes, we can justify the quality, craftsmanship, and timelessness of the purse, but the name brand is what we're paying for. And when we wear that bag around town, we're free advertising for Chanel.

And it's not only the luxury brands that get free advertising -- we wear Gap sweatshirts with the logo blazoned across the chest. We wear Abercrombie & Fitch sweatpants, t-shirts, and hats. We carry Whole Foods reusable bags. We wear Superdry flannel shirts and Ralph Lauren Polo shirts. Wearing each of these items, with their highly visible and recognizable logos, turns us into brand ambassadors no matter if we like it or not.

So Nick's just outsmarting us. He's getting paid to do something almost all of us do for free. The highest bidder forked over $11,000 for the honor, and starting with his first 2012 meet in Sydney, Nick will wear the winner's Twitter handle loud and proud on his bicep. And it sounds like a win-win to me: Nick gets some sponsorship dough he needed, and the auction winner gets the exposure they paid for.

Now. When we see Jennifer Aniston on the red carpet with a Smartwater temporary tattoo, we'll know the trend is really catching on.

What do you think of selling your arm space to the highest bidder?


Photo via Phil Roeder/Flickr

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