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Idea #17: The Walking Advert

Since we were on the theme of advertising in Idea #2, I thought I’d continue 15 ideas later with another idea designed to harness businesses’ lust for exposure: make yourself into a walking advert.

“Ha!” I can hear you saying, “Sell out!” But hold your tongue a minute. You have sold out yourself and got NIENTE in return. Have a look at the logos crawling around inside your wardrobe. You’re already advertising for companies. Worse, you’ve paid them for the priviledge! It’s time the tables were turned.

Idea #17: The Walking Advert

So how do you become a walking advert? Actually, with this idea I have some personal experience to draw on. Last winter I was working at the Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco. A bit short of cash, I devised the devious plan of creating an Ad Jacket.

Here’s how to make one:

  1. Stick a sign on the back of your favourite jacket that reads:
    Walking advert
  2. …thus creating the Ad Jacket BASIC.

  3. Walk around your chosen highly frequented venue as if you are going about your normal business (although secretely you are waiting for an approach).
  4. Strike deals with advertisers who approach you, placing their adverts on another part of the jacket while leaving the original sign in place so as to attract more advertisers. The result is the Ad Jacket MAX:
  5. Modelled by a real French girl

    Modelled by a real French girl

  6. Find out further details about whatever you are advertising so you can inform interested parties.
  7. You are now a fully-fledged walking advertisement. Move around your chosen venue wearing the Ad Jacket MAX as if you are going about your normal business.
  8. When people stop to read what it says on your back, or just laugh at you, take the opportunity to inform them further about what on earth you are doing, moving slyly into a sales pitch for products you’ll earn a commission off.
  9. Reap the rewards.

I found my personal experience of being a walking advert entirely fulfilling. From the moment I donned the Ad Jacket BASIC people were shooting subtle glances, making polite inquiries. It wasn’t long before I made my first deal, a sign that read:

Ask me about weed

That was a sign put on there by a gardener, but so excited was I by having struck my first commission-based deal, I ran off before he got a chance to write ‘ing’. Still, as it was, the sign made me a significant profit, for a negligible amount of work. I’d recommend it to everyone.

Here is a run down of the other ads I can recall having on my back by the time the ad jacket developed into an Ad Jacket MAX, and how I profited:

  • “Genuine Limited Edition San Francisco Space Brownies” – commission-based, $1 per brownie referral
  • “Ask me about haircuts” – a free haircut
  • “Ask me about a gourmet dinner by a top chef” – a free gourmet dinner by a top chef
  • “Martin S Gardea is the Greatest Living Artist on the Face of the Earth” – $22 advance placement fee
  • “I’ll comb your hair till it’s so very, very soft” – approx. $5 for a limited period
  • “Ask me about cheap beer and vodka” – an endless stream of income

Now these may look like slim pickings, but do not for a moment take the potential of the ad jacket lightly. If you truly have no shame, you could make a really big deal out of making yourself into a walking advert. Why not create a full ensemble of wacky ad clothes? Better still, do it with tattoos! Spread the word to the media that you are selling your whole body as advertising space, pull a few publicity stunts (more about these in a later post) and before you know it, you are THE AD MAN! Thereafter, all you need to do is make public appearances and watch the sponsorship money roll in…

If you fear embarking on such a harebrained project would be one of the biggest mistakes you could possibly make, why not make a sensible business out of it, like the gentlemen who developed the Ad Walker:

(Thanks Cool Business Ideas for finding this.)

You know what I mean?

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