I was sat watching TV with my husband the other day. We were watching Tattoo Fixers and we were debating the merits of covering a small shit tattoo with a really big (and sometimes shit) tattoo.
If you haven’t watched the show, it is a highly entertaining hour where people attempt to get cover-ups of the worst tattoo’s known to man. The problem is that often the cover-ups are really big and dark in order to hide the original heinous creation.
As my husband describes it:
“It’s like covering a scar with a burn.”
Sometimes they are less crude, sometimes they are less offensive; visually they are generally horrifying.
If you don’t believe me, I will refer you to the ripped skin effect seen in episodes 1,2,3,4,5,6 …oh no wait all of them.
Even more staggering than the (often dubious) results, is the flagrant lack of consideration shown by 99% of people who appear on the show to the new “art” that will adorn their bodies for the rest of their existence.
When answering the question: “So have you got any ideas about what you want to cover that enormous penis tattoo on your leg?”
Most people seem to cast around as though being asked what they fancy for dinner.
One famous response was “Not really, I quite like hands and clocks?”
And it’s not like we haven’t been here before. In general these people have suffered the ritual humiliation that rightly accompanies a poor choice in tattoo art. You’d think that walking around with a giant no entry sign on your arse or a tattoo with ‘no ragrets’ would be a pretty compelling life lesson but alas no.
The abject life lesson in all of this is that human behaviour is rarely rational and often haphazard even for what you might consider the most important of life events.
But if we think this is just a few bad cookies or that I am sitting at home in my ivory tower laughing my head off at the poor idiots on trashy TV think again.
I for example am in the middle of procuring a new flat. Yep property, arguably as profound and long-lasting as a tattoo and a darn site more expensive.
Wanna know how long I spent looking round the place I have offered to part more money than sense for?
5 maybe 10 minutes. It was dark as well so I didn’t really get to see the garden and after you’ve looked in a couple of cupboards I always feel a bit socially awkward.
If I think Tattoo Fixers is mad then I am madder.
And about the only thing more laughable than all of this is how we interpret human behaviour in the boardroom. Meeting after meeting of chat about ‘loyalty’ and ‘consideration’, debate after debate about comms, packaging, storytelling, content that people really care about and behaving authentically.
If most people give 4 seconds consideration to a tattoo that will live on their bodies for the rest of eternity and if I feel too socially awkward to consider a flat for more than 4.39secs despite the cash involved I think we have some human behaviour lessons to appreciate here.
A lot of brands are placing a huge burden of responsibility on people now.
“TV advertising used to work like this: you sat on your sofa while creatives were paid to throw a bucket of shit in your face. Today you’re expected to sit on the bucket, fill it with your own shit, and tip it over your head while filming yourself on your mobile. Then you upload the video to the creatives. You do the work; they still get paid”
Charlie Brooker chimes in my ears when I’m handed communications and brand strategy that asks so much for so little in return.
Tattoos can’t demand it and neither can houses. Why should brands?