In Skin Ads

Most marketers are familiar with the phrase “in-text advertising,” though the concept of in skin probably doesn’t ring a bell. New Zeland hipster mecca Superette teamed up with regional advertising giant DDB Group in order to generate a provocative promotional campaign. Superette’s pushing short shorts for both men and women, so they decided to make a lasting impression on local fashionistas.

To get that message across in an unconventional manner, they scattered indented plates throughout various seating areas in a busy downtown shopping district. Unsuspecting leg barers taking a load off on a park bench or sitting at a bus stop found themselves stuck with advertisements literally embedded in their skin.

These temporary body modifications didn’t hurt anybody, but they certainly didn’t win any points in the tastefulness category. Though Superette claims the stunt targeted a unisex demographic that seems hard to believe. There are far more women than men walking around with exposed thighs; “branding” a woman’s leg is an obvious attempt to grab male attention. Additionally, younger, shapely women are more likely to wear revealing clothes. The ad placement reveals a deliberate attempt at exploitation.

Reputable online marketers constantly strive for so-called permission based techniques, such as opt-ins and privacy protections. Internet advertisers aren’t supposed to send someone an email without his or her consent, yet Superette is allowed to turn unsuspecting women into walking billboards?

According to their website, nothing’s beyond DDB Group. This statement likely reflects a willingness to embrace guerrilla marketing tactics. There’s nothing wrong with challenging conventions and breaking new ground up to a point. Still, their latest attempt to grab the headlines crossed the line. The old adage that there’s no such thing as bad press doesn’t apply in this instance. Implementing the idea probably cost a lot of money, and most of the impressions were more or less illegible. In other words, this stunt wasn’t really about getting a message across. It was the marketing equivalent of shock rock: juvenile, boring, and forgettable .

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