Fight fans recall that for a few years there, temporary tattoo advertisements were regularly seen on fighters' backs during bouts. The first major scrap we saw a henna tattoo on a boxers' back? That came when Bernard Hopkins fought Felix Trinidad in September 2001. Hopkins netted a cool $100,000 to tout a gambling entity.
The practice fell out of favor, though, as the Nevada State Athletic Commission looked to ban the practice, and networks chafed at offering a platform for ads that they didn't collect on and could clash with existing promotional partners. But marketer Darren Prince is looking to bring back the practice.
The New Jersey resident, who reps celebs and athletes in the realm of endorsements and appearances, is backing a new venture called Wow Body Ads.
You might already be familiar with that outfit if you've come in contact with the semi-famed "Naked Cowboy," who patrols Times Square. The Cowboy is wearing Wow Body Ads on his chest and back this month to bring awareness to the product.
Prince told NYFightBlog that he is keen on placing ads from big-time brands on fighters, and is in discussions with current world champions to follow in the Cowboy's footsteps (and pecs and back). Prince says a patent has been issued which gives Wow Body Ads exclusive rights to affix and show off body ads during televised athletic and entertainment events.
"We chose 'The Naked Cowboy' because he is a beloved figure seen by millions of tourists each year," Prince said. "Who wouldn't want their brand in front of that many people and at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising?"
Prince acknowledged that the body ads have bumped up against regulation agencies and promoters. "But we're bringing in the promoters, the fighters, everyone," he said. "We want to enhance visibility. It's not like an ambush. There will be revenue for all."
Prince still has some lobbying to do in N.Y. I reached out to the chair of the New York State Athletic Commission, Melvina Lathan, and asked if NYSAC allows temporary body tattoos/ads. "The answer is no temporary body tattoos/advertisements," she said.