152 Facebook Tattoos: A Creative Publicity Stunt

By , Columnist


The woman with a tattoo sleeve of 152 of her Facebook friends, reported here yesterday, left some questioning the impact of social media in our lives. It turns out the tattoo was a hoax and an extremely effective publicity stunt, fueled by the impact social media does have in our modern world.

Rotterdam tattoo-artist, Dex Moelker told the Dutch newspaper Telegraaf, that the tattoo was a stunt created in collaboration with Pretty Social, a Dutch firm that sells Facebook-themed gifts, and was aimed at generating publicity for his company. And that it did after the video went viral with over 1.5 million YouTube hits and 7,000 users recommending the story on Facebook.

"It is a try out tattoo, a transfer, that washes off in a couple of days," said Moelker. "It took a couple of hours to apply the transfer not the 30 hours the video claimed to produce the real tattoo."

There was a great deal of initial speculation about the validity of the tattoo, especially from tattoo enthusiasts who have experienced the pain and swelling not evident on the arm of susyj87; yet, the real art is this viral campaign that illustrates the modern significance of social media while also using that concept as a firestarter for its own stealth marketing -- for a day at least. Now Moelker has moved onto to admission of the hoax, which further fuels his brand awareness through self-replicating social media processes. At least we can breathe a sigh of relief that a woman in Amsterdam won't be aging along with 152 sagging Facebook friends; however, a part of me does wish the photos were permanent. If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well.

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Holly is a freelance writer and copy editor with a background in journalism and publishing. Like a grandmother's purse, she is about three decades old, worn around the edges and mostly full of crap.

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