Deal Of The Week: Brand Yourself With A Corporate Logo — For Free!
If you’re a masochist or a Millennial, has Arby’s got a deal for you. Visit Port City Tattoo in Long Beach, California, on Saturday, and you can get the fast food chain’s corporate logo tattooed on your body for free. For those who have long desired to mutilate their bodies with a cartoon beef and cheddar sandwich but have been reluctant to pay for the privilege, your lucky day is at hand. Arby’s is billing the promotion as an opportunity to have a “sandwich for life,” albeit in the form of ink on your skin. The gimmick follows a similar marketing stunt by Domino’s Pizza in Russia earlier this month, in which the pizza chain offered lifelong free pizza to anyone who tattooed the company’s logo on his body. While the company intended to run the promotion for two months, it had to end the deal after just a few days for fear of going out of business.
“More than a million people would have come to demand pizzas,” explained 24-year-old Natalia Koshkina. “After all, this is Russia.” To permanently brand one’s body with a corporate logo in exchange for free cheap pizza requires something of a nihilistic worldview, but the prevalence of such nihilism does not surprise in a country renowned for its various suicidegames.
The nihilistic advert offer has now reached Western shores, and a 2017 study from Pew Research Center suggests it may find takers. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, tattoos and piercings among teenagers and young adults are more popular than ever, with 38% of Americans between the age of 18 and 29 sporting ink. Tattoos have traditionally remained confined to the domain of warriors and criminals, which violent trades demand brutality, for good and bad respectively. In recent years, tattoos have gained cultural acceptance in even more genteel realms, where typically they commemorate a meaningful event or relationship in one’s life.
But what of tattoos that denote nothing special at all, for apparently no reason? I recently met a Millennial retail worker who had tattooed the phrase, “sh** cray,” in cursive on his index finger. Another coeval acquaintance recently tattooed citrus fruit over his joints. Yet another has inked random geometric shapes all down her arm. The Russians traded their flesh for pizza; a growing group of Americans respects their bodies even less. The Long Beach tattoo stunt is a marketing gimmick, but like its pizza counterpart in Russia, Arby’s may attract more senselessly ink-eager Millennials than it bargained for. Looking around the culture, who can help but ask, “Where’s the beef?”