Japan’s New Ad Trend Has Legs

Ad agencies in Japan have come up with a new kind of billboard that’s getting the wrong kind of attention.
Author, Profit First
March 11, 2013

Using beautiful models in advertising to get men’s attention isn’t new. But Japanese ad agency Absolute Territory PR found a way to combine men’s attraction to beautiful women and an advertising message, in a different way. They “rent” ad space on the legs of beautiful women. Then they stamp the ad on the thighs of these women (ages 18 and up). After getting their legs stamped, for the next 8 hours the women go about their daily routine. The women are required to post photos of themselves on Facebook and other social media sites, and must wear mini-skirts and preferably knee length stockings. Apparently the advertising platform is quite a hit, especially among the men who now have “permission” to stare at the girl’s legs and the 1,300 women who have already signed up to be noticed.

Have you ever been at a college football game when everyone is shouting and cheering on the team? No matter how loud you yell, your voice gets drowned out. Your voice contributes to the noise, but it’s also lost in the noise. But that one guy who goes streaking across the field yelling, he’s noticed. He’s noticed big time. But not for the right reasons. He lives on in infamy in grainy YouTube videos.

Advertising today is overwhelming noise, and marketers are quickly drawn to new ways of making their mark. But if you go too far, you will offend more people than you attract. Just think about all those people who have tattooed their heads with corporate logos. It yielded the company a few weeks of exposure, but the person is experiencing a lifetime of shame.  

You don't need to always break the rules to win in advertising. Sometimes just tweaking the status quo is the much better way to go. Don't be the streaker in the stadium, be the one waving a cool banner.


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Photo: Getty Images