Permanently Arming yourself with your Facebook Friends?

A Dutch woman was all the rage recently as she uploaded a YouTube video showing her arm being tattooed with all 152 of her facebook friends’ profile pictures.

The story spread like wild fire, making all the major news media, including Forbes. Her YouTube video received over 1.5 million hits, the majority of which “disliked” her status.

She commented: “Finishing my social tattoo with 152 pictures of my Facebook Friends!
Of course I gave it a lot of thought. These are not all my friends. Just the people I care most about. I got their permission and they were very proud to be on it. To me it represents who I am right now and the time we live in.”

The press wasn’t flattering to this woman and her idea, particularly that she has taken social media a bit too far. Well it turns out, the Dutch woman only known as suzyj87, reveals that this stunt was a hoax and she did it solely to get press for the tattoo shop and another company, Pretty Social, which sells facebook fan images on anything from bags to mugs. The tattoo was only a temporary one that washes off, not a permanent one that took 30 pain-staking hours as the video touted.

While the story did make all the major news outlets creating a media sensation, this type of publicity can also back fire for a couple of reasons:

  • The concept was received negatively by the public. Comments ranged from what happens when you “dislike” a friend or what if I didn’t make the arm or if she got more friends to where would she put the next tattoo of her 153rd friend?
  • Revealing it was a hoax put a negative taste in the media’s mouth. This tattoo stunt got picked up inter-nationally from Forbes, CNN, Huffington Post and more. They now all have a disclaimer on their sites branding it a “hoax”. You can bet that any more media coming from this tattoo shop –good or bad– will be guaranteed not to be picked up. And no one, especially the media, likes to be hood winked.

Reality check here. Make sure your publicity stunts generate positive brand imaging. While tattooing your arm with your facebook friends is a novel idea, it was too far out there, even for those on the cutting edge. I guess you can say, it got under their skin.

This entry was posted in Brand Fans, brand image, Branding, Facebook, Publicity, Reality Check, Social Media, YouTube. Bookmark the permalink.

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