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A shot in the arm for advertising?
Man sells his skin as space for tattooed messages
Saturday, January 29, 2005 Posted: 7:55 AM EST (1255 GMT)

Joe Tamargo's right arm bears two paid messages. He calls it "a way to connect people with businesses."

NEW YORK (AP) -- Old school: The body is a temple.

The Next Big Thing, according to 31-year-old Joe Tamargo: The body is a billboard.

Tamargo, who runs a Web site, has started a new enterprise, selling advertisers the opportunity to permanently tattoo their messages on his body.

After posting his offer on eBay, the responses began to trickle in.

Two advertisers earned spots on his right arm -- and put a little more than $1,000 in his pocket. A California pharmaceutical company last week posted an ad for for $500. On Thursday, Tamargo earned $510 to have "Save Martha! It's a good thing." permanently etched farther down the same arm.

"They say there's nothing better in advertising than word of mouth," said Tamargo, who lives on Long Island. "I figured, this might be better."

Other people have sold their bodies for temporary tattoo messages. Tamargo claims to be the only one agreeing to be etched with a permanent message.

"I think this is a way to connect people with businesses," said Tamargo, who had traditional tattoos -- including a cross -- before going commercial. "I figure instead of people wearing a Tommy Hilfiger logo on their shirt, they can wear the actual logo on their arm."

Hani Durzy, a spokesman for eBay, said the online sales service has no objection to what Tamargo is doing. "The most important thing is that the buyer and seller agree on the terms, whatever the deal is," he said.

John Small, the leader of the Martha Stewart fan group, says he has been exploring various ways to keep the spotlight on the domestic goddess's plight. Stewart was convicted last year for lying about a stock deal in 2001.

"We were looking for a way to make our message heard," Small said. "We were thinking this would be a good shot in the arm."

Since Tamargo refuses to accept any advertisement he deems explicit or controversial -- and will only advertise products and messages he endorses, the Martha Stewart ad was a very good thing.

"I definitely support her," Tamargo said. "I think she was targeted for the wrong reasons and I think her punishment was too severe."

Madison Avenue advertising guru Jerry DellaFemina could hardly contain his laughter when asked if Tamargo may be starting a new trend.

"This may be the end of advertising," he said, chuckling. "Really, this may be it."

He also couldn't help himself when speculating on how far tattoo advertising may go.

"I don't even want to ask where he might want to place an ad for Viagra."
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