Are we really ready to turn our bodies into billboards for a few extra bucks? Japanese advertisers are banking on it, offering women money in exchange for the use of their thighs. Participants paste temporary tattoos of brand logos on their legs and spend the day exposing them to oglers. To be eligible for ad space, you must be at least 18-years-old and connected to least 20 people on social networking sites. The idea comes as part of the advertising maxim that ads should run “wherever people are looking.”
As of November 2012, about 1,300 women have registered their legs to be part of ad campaigns with Absolute Territory PR, the publicity team behind the bizarre media blitz. In fact the name of the PR company, “Absolute Territory,” is a translation of the Japanese phrase “zettai ryouiki,” used to describe the area on a woman’s leg between the end of her skirt or short and the beginning of a thigh-high or knee-high stocking, a style that has been popularized by Japanese Anime and manga.
In order to get paid at the end of the day, women must wear the advert, which comes in the form of a temporary adhesive, for at least eight hours. They must also post photos of themselves wearing the adhesive on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter as proof of completing the job. Women can expect to earn between $13 and $128 for one day’s work.
Presumably, because “zettai ryouiki,” is a “total magnet for the male gaze," one can assume this marketing strategy would work particularly well for products or services geared to a male audience.
It’s not only advertisers who are taking advantage of the popularity of the trend. The band Green Day had girls stamp an ad on their thighs as a marketing campaign for their new album, !Uno!.
Though it could be classified as a blatant objectification of the female body, Absolute Territory PR’s crafty campaign is a glimpse into the future of advertising. It’s been theorized that in just a few years advertisers will be able to use augmented reality to float digital ads in prominent places that you would need special glasses or contacts to see. It’s a brave new world.