Tattooing Your Company's Logo
Last week, the following story hit the headlines: New York Company Offers Pay Raise For Tattoos. If you hit up that link, you'll see a video in which the CEO of Rapid Realty, a New York apartment rental brokerage, discusses how he offers a extra 15% commission bonus on all deals for employees who have the ugly Rapid Realty logo tattooed on their bodies (as shown in the screen grab above).
I was happy to see the story posted and discussed in the N+S Facebook group page, but I really just chalked it up to another of the many tattoo publicity stunts -- akin to the Marc Ecko's Branded for Life promo, where those who get Ecko logo tattoos also get "20% off For Life" on Ecko merch.
But reading the tattoo headlines this morning, this story grew some serious wings and has been appearing in the media worldwide. For example, the UK's Daily Mail had an extensive article with video and images of employees with their Rapid Realty tattoos. The thread throughout these articles is about brand loyalty and tattoos being the ultimate expression of that.
I've discussed this in my post on Tattoos & Trademark and a lecture I did at Fordham Law School on tattooed logos. In that post and in my talk, I largely looked at those who got logo tattoos because they felt a strong commitment to what that brand represents--how the ideologies of the companies represented on their skin reflected their own values.
What doesn't sit right for me here is that the employees getting their Rapid Realty logo tattoos are incentivized, not necessarily by the ethos of the company, but by financial gain. Someone who needs to pay their own mortgage may not think twice about having their boss brand them to make some extra cash. The company should have some responsibility when permanently marking their corporate drones. What if the company fires a tattooed employee? Will they pay for removal as they did for the tattoo? In cases like this one, the discussion shouldn't really be about "loyalty" but ethics.
Oh, and the CEO does not have a company tattoo himself.