Advertising on women’s thighs is now a thing in Japan

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Women get paid $120 for wearing an advertising sticker on one day for a day.
Women get paid $121 for wearing an advertising sticker on one thigh for a day.
Image: ITN

Don Draper would be proud. A PR firm in Tokyo, Wit Inc, is pushing the bounds of advertising by paying women to wear stickers on their thighs. Advertising on women’s skin appears to be much more cost-effective than forking out exorbitant sums for public billboard space. In 2012, the overall expenditure on ‘outdoor’ advertising in Japan was ¥299.5 billion ($2.99 billion) (pdf). The going rate on each thigh, according to the company, is $121 per day. The 3,000 Japanese women who signed up to participate will slap stickers on their thighs in exchange for that sum. The campaigns, which began rolling out earlier this year, so far have included plugs for the movie Ted and the band Green Day.

Not just anyone can cash in. The young women who register to take part in this campaign must adhere to the following stipulations:

  • They must be over 18 years old.
  • They need to have at least 20 friends on social networking sites (which seems like a small number).
  • When wearing the sticker, they have to take pictures of themselves wearing the sticker in two different locations, before then uploading it to the internet.
  • The women are also recommended to wear miniskirts and long socks, so that onlookers focus on the sticker.

Hidenori Atsumi, CEO of the ad agency, told ITN that, “It’s an absolutely perfect place to put an advertisement, as this is what guys are eager to look at and girls are eager to expose.”

Mass advertising on skin, or skinvertising, has been done before, though perhaps not on the thighs. In January 2005, for example, 21-year-old Andrew Fischer sold a month’s worth of advertising space on his forehead on eBay (paywall) for $37,375. Also in 2005, actress Shaune Bragwell sold space on her cleavage to an online casino for $15,000.

Since then, skinvertising has persisted more subtly, which may be just what its propagators want.