July 6th, 2012
A Bet (and Tattoo) on an Olympian
By Stuart Elliott
New York Times
SOME marketers are spending tens or hundreds of millions of dollars on Olympic sponsorships. Then there is Hanson Dodge Creative, an advertising and design agency in Milwaukee, which spent $11,100 to perch on the shoulder of an Olympic athlete.
Hanson Dodge, which works for clients like Trek bikes and Wilson sporting goods, submitted the winning bid in an auction on eBay in January that was conducted by the runner Nick Symmonds. He was selling the right to affix a Twitter handle to his left shoulder, in the form of a temporary tattoo, that he would wear during the 2012 track and field season, including — if he qualified — the Summer Games in London.
Mr. Symmonds, known for being outspoken, was seeking to make a point about what he has described as the outdated policies governing athletes’ endorsements that are enforced by organizations like USA Track and Field.
To underline that point, he wears white tape over the @HansonDodge tattoo each time he runs — it is visible the rest of the time — to draw attention to the policies that prohibit sponsor logos and branding from being displayed.