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When Does Selling Your Body = Golden Opportunity?

You've seen the extravagant sponsorship deals with athletes in the NBA, NFL, and NASCAR. But how often how do you hear about US athletes—the best in the world in a given sport—struggling to get by without a second job as a construction worker or accountant?

To help fund his Olympic dreams and make a statement about the current sponsorship restrictions in his sport of track & field, Nick Symmonds took to eBay to auction off a part of his body during his Olympic races to the sponsor with the highest bid. The result: a tattoo of a logo on his shoulder even his mom is proud of, a picture perfect partnership, and a big "middle finger" to a few international governing bodies.

How did social media, digital content development, and a bit of PR take one athlete's cause (and his sponsor's logo) to a billion viewers worldwide and turn an $11,000 "media buy" into "gold"? Did we mention that tatto with the sponsor's logo must be covered by a piece of tape in every single race?

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. Do we really own our own skin?
  2. How long does a temporary tattoo really last?
  3. How can elite athletes and brands help each in some not-so-traditional ways?
  4. What does it feel like to give "the middle finger" to an international governing body?
  5. How do you turn an $11,000 "media buy" into one billion media impressions



Joe Ciccarelli, Marketing Manager / Brand Strategist, Hanson Dodge Creative

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