Space for Rent: How bodies have become billboards for brands

Photo by Sylvan Magnus. Courtesy of Vice Media.

In 2005, Karolyne Smith, a Utah mother, sold ad space on her forehead for $10,000 to online casino The move generated a lot of buzz on various media outlets across the globe and sparked a trend of “skinvertising” that reached its peak in 2009.  According to an article by the Huffington Post, some “marketing entrepreneurs” claim to have made upward to $220,000 off tattoo ad sales and continue to sell advertising space on their bodies. One such entrepreneur is Mark Greenlaw who held an auction for tattoo space on his neck. The lucky winner? Hosting company Glob@t. The loser? Mark, who will forever sport a neck tattoo for the now defunct company.

Although the tattoo ad trend has seemingly come to an end, one individual, inspired by his mallrat days, came up with the idea of making money by shaving the logos of local businesses into his hair. Andrew Lardinois, a 33-year old living in Portland, has served as a “human billboard” for a local liquor store, clothing boutique, and neighborhood coffee shop, among other places.

For fifty dollars a week, local businesses can rent a walking and talking advertisement for their brand and secure a piece of prime ad space on Lardinois’ head. Lardinois, who splits the take with his barber, told Vice, “I’ve never asked for anything, but I got a lot of free beers. Businesses started approaching me after a while. I had to work out a pricing guide.”

Lardinois, who works at a Jackson Hewitt tax kiosk inside a Walmart, has also garnered a lot of attention on Facebook – an added bonus for paying clients. “If I’ve chosen to have it on my head,” Lardinois says, “everyone knows it’s worth checking out.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 thoughts on “Space for Rent: How bodies have become billboards for brands