Your Body to the Highest Bidder

It seems that selling our bodies for cold, hard, cash is trying to make its way back into fashion. But not in the way that you might think.Nope, our bodies, as it turns out, are highly coveted for their potential as ad space. And Nick Symmonds, an American track athlete headed to the Olympics, is leading the charge.

Symmonds has found a loophole in the stringent rules placed on athletes by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and auctioned off his shoulder as ad space to the highest bidder. The rules state that he can’t have it displayed during his races, but a temporary tattoo of the winning bidder’s twitter handle (congratulations, @HansonDodge) will be displayed on his shoulder for the world to see any other time during the Olympic Games.

This may be the most recent instance of use of a body as ad space, but certainly not the first. Or, I’d be willing to bet, the last. is notorious for paying people large sums of money to tattoo their website on the most unusual parts of their bodies. (Shockingly, large enough sums for the parts of the body they ask these people to get tattooed). The first woman to win the honor was paid $10,000 to have the site displayed on her forehead.What probably should have been a one time publicity stunt has continued to be an ongoing campaign for To date, they’ve purchased tens of thousands of dollars worth of ad space on various people’s body parts, including the back of the head, pregnant bellies, arms, and, naturally, cleavage.

But this isn’t simply an American trend. A New Zealand woman auctioned off a 9×9 cm space on her, um, derriere, to be tattooed with whatever the highest bidder would like to put there. Why? She needs the cash.

A German man also wanted to raise some cash, but to build a museum dedicated to St. Bernard dogs. Sweet, right? But, to fund it, he’s selling off his face – in pieces or as a whole – as tattoo space.But, don’t feel left out in the cold. If you need some money to pay off student loans, or make a car payment, or – really, I suppose it could be for any reason – a quick Google search found, which has a section specifically for On-Body Advertising:

“Are you a student, bartender, belly-dancer or anyone else who comes in contact with mass amounts of people every day? Chances are you can sell part of your body as advertising space!!!”

Who knows? This could be the next big thing in advertising ideas! Or, for the recipient of the tattoo…the next big mistake??

(Images courtesy of, TheBioFile, and

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