BBH Barn Interns: First Sartalics, Now 'Social Tattoo'

Three weeks ago, I wrote about a trio of BBH Barn interns who created Sartalics, the font to use when being sarcastic in email, tweets and texts. Emoticons are for the emotionally challenged; this eliminates those pesky misunderstandings in cyberspace. Now, you'll recognize a dis and deal with it.

At the same time, another intern troika, also asked to "change perception famously," came up with "The Social Tattoo Project."

They take a topic that the world feels passionate about and make it permanent -- with a tattoo. The interns tracked tending topics on Twitter, then asked Tweeters what was important to them by posting four topics and requesting votes for the one they'd like to see tattooed.

Tweets to @social_tattoo were sent in a format similar to this: "I care about (insert world issue here) for a week so we become a more conscious humanity."

As this was happening, the search began for volunteers to get inked for a good cause. An ad was placed on Craigslist, interviews were held. Five volunteers, including the head of BBH NY PR, were chosen to be tattooed. Whatever happened to advocacy T-shirts? It lets you promote various causes without turning into the illustrated man.

The interns teamed up with Sacred Tattoo in New York City to ink volunteers. The winning tattoos were a cresting wave for Japan, handcuffed hands for human trafficking, a broken heart for Haiti, a pie chart for poverty and a flower flag for Norway. Tattoos were inked for 50% less than their usual cost. In the years to come, when your figure sags, you can use the savings for tattoo removal.

"As a group, we observed that people who are unaffected by the disasters of the world, such as the earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Katrina, move on from them far too quickly," said Haywood Watkins, one of the interns who worked on the project. "With that in mind, we set out to make empathy permanent, as permanent as a tattoo. That was the beginning of the Social Tattoo Project."

The project was promoted through Twitter, Facebook and the Social Tattoo project Web site.

The internships may be over, but the Social Tattoo Project will continue.

"The first five tattoos were done in New York and our sixth tattoo has been voted on and it is a tie between education and Save The Children," said Watkins. "That tattoo has not been done yet, but the recipient lives in South Africa."
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