For rent: Your forehead for $5,000

Miami start-up hopes to cash in by finding advertisers who want to slap logos on the body parts of young, good-looking people.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
3 min read
If you happened to be at a Hooters in Pittsburgh recently and saw a waitress with a large temporary tattoo on her forehead, you have Alex Fisher to thank for it.

Fisher is the brain behind Lease Your Body, a Miami start-up aiming to make a mint by hooking up good-looking people willing to rent out space on their bodies with advertisers in search of a way to get some attention.

And Sarah Dee, the Hooter's waitress, is serving as a one-woman spokeswoman for the company.

Sarah Dee
Credit: Lease Your Body
Sarah Dee shows how an advertisement
on a person's forehead would
attract attention.

"I guess it attracts attention more than anything else would because people look at you like, 'I wonder why she has that tattoo on her head,'" Dee said. "But after I talk to them, they think it's a neat idea."

Fisher said he got the idea for Lease Your Body after seeing the media attention one woman got when she auctioned off on eBay the right to buy space for a real tattoo on her forehead. That woman, Karolyne Smith, ended up getting $10,000 from GoldenPalace.com.

"I thought, why not make a company where advertisers can find thousands of people and pay a lot less money to do this kind of advertising?" Fisher said.

Since its launch in March, Lease Your Body has had more than 2,500 people sign up wanting to participate in the program. Each is willing to rent out space on one of six body parts--neck, forehead, upper arm, forearm, hand, stomach or lower back--for rates from $100 up to $5,000, Fisher said.

"To get $5,000, there are certain factors," he said. "Being attractive would help--having an outgoing personality and being in the right place at the right time."

However, Fisher, 23, admitted he has yet to sign any contracts with advertisers. Thus, Dee, who he selected because of her "good attitude," has been walking around the Steel City advertising for Lease Your Body and not any third-party company.

She also said she was paid only $200 to wear her temporary tattoo.

"It's not that hard of a job," she said. "It's easy and I know I'm the first one, so it's fine."

Still, since the day she showed up with a very visible "Lease Your Body" logo on her forehead, she's had to endure some good-natured ribbing from family and friends, she said.

"I kind of got a few laughs about it, because it takes up my whole forehead," she said, "so of course they're going to make fun of me for it, but I think they think it's a good idea."

One person who's not so sure about the ad medium is Dave Balter, who runs word-of-mouth marketing agency BzzAgent.

"It's just another marketing vehicle," Balter said. "The first of everything will get people to talk. After that, there is no PR value and no one will care. Putting tattoos of logos on your body is just using a different placement for your advertising. It's novel, but that will wear off."

For his part, Fisher understands that some may be turned off by the notion of people selling ad space on their bodies. But he thinks he's helping people out, especially because he only plans to take 30 percent of the fees his members could one day get from advertisers.

"Other people may say you're degrading yourself," he said. "I don't see it as any different from wearing any kind of logo. They're wearing Nike shoes. It's no different, only they're getting paid."