The effort, via Boulder, Colo.-based TDA Advertising & Design, encourages cyclists to submit an original Titus Cycles tattoo design, plus the size and place they are willing to have it inked, at titusti.com/humanbillboard. The winner will be chosen by design via online vote, and then the company will film the tattoo process. When the tattoo is finished, the winner gets a $5,170 2010 Titus FTM Carbon bike.
The next element happens in April, when the first couple to opt in at titusti.com/spandexwedding, vowing to be wed in Titus racing jerseys, receive a video of the ceremony, and on completion, a men's and a women's 2010 Titus X Carbon, worth about $7,600 each.
And in the last element of the effort, in July, the first to sign, at titusti.com/rockstar29er, to have his or her name legally changed to Rockstar 29'er will, on completion, get a $6,265 2010 Titus Rockstar 29'er bicycle.
The company says it will run the campaign comprising three ad spreads in mountain biking magazines Bike, Decline and others.
Jonathan Schoenberg, creative director at TDA, says the agency has been working with Titus for about four years, but this is the first such campaign it has done. "Basically, it comes down to the fact that we have pretty minimal print budget, so how could we blow it out? The idea was giving people a way to get involved with the effort."
Schoenberg says that the agency talked to people in Boulder bike shops, Boulder being a pretty hardcore mountain biking town, as it is nestled against the crenellated eastern slope of the Rockies. "We asked people in local bike shops if they'd get a [Titus Cycles] tattoo and they said yes."
He says the effort is aimed at 20-something, hardcore cyclists for whom Titus is an aspirational brand. "When you look at the Web site now you see people saying things like, 'I'd put [the tattoo] on my neck,' so basically people are way into it."
The tactic is unusual, but not unheard of. Tiremaker Dunlop has had promotions inviting people to get their hair cut in a tire-tread design, get Dunlop tats, and in Canada, the company ran a promotion in 2003 inviting people with surnames that were the same as a tire brand to change it legally to Dunlop. Four Canadians (their names were Goodyear) did so and split a $25,000 purse.