PARIS: This past August, the Subway restaurant chain launched a highly successful advertising campaign in the USA, offering free sandwiches “for life” if you changed your name to that of the fast-food giant!
While some individuals were willing to switch up something as linked to identity as a name for a consumer benefit, others have gone as far as to permanently ink their skin for certain advantages.
In fact, for many years now, various brands, including restaurants, have been promising free meals to those who go as far as tattooing the name of a burger or brand on their skin.
In 2021, for example, Californian restaurant chain Farmer Boys celebrated its 40th anniversary in an original way, offering consumers the chance to get a tattoo of the chain’s logo in exchange for free hamburgers for a year.
An initiative that many found shocking, given that it demanded something as indelible as a tattoo to show loyalty to a brand or consumer product.
What about if it’s part of a campaign that aims to reduce the carbon footprint of travel, in this case by favouring public transport?
That’s the goal of KlimaTicket introduced by the Austrian government in 2021. For just three euros a day, you can enjoy unlimited travel on buses, trains and other public transport.
Some 245,000 people have already signed up to this initiative, which is part of a mobility plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. In particular, Austria aims to reduce private car use by 16%.
But the campaign made international headlines when those behind the initiative launched a new angle to the programme to promote sustainable travel to summer music festivals.
Attendees at certain events could choose to get a “KlimaTicket” tattoo. In exchange, the first three volunteers at the events received the right to free public transport travel all year round. Austria’s Minister for Climate, Leonore Gewessler, personally promoted the scheme at the Frequency Festival music festival in St Pölten.
From a purely financial point of view, this initiative could be considered a good deal, since the KlimaTicket costs 1,095 euros per year.
From an ethical point of view, a number of questions – and critiques – have been raised on social media, including by other Austrian politicians.
Henrike Brandstötter, of the opposition NEOS party, declared on X (formerly Twitter) that “offering people money to have advertising tattooed on their skin reveals an image of human beings that is unacceptable.”
The minister retorted by pointing out that the tattoo was done for free and carried out during the day, suggesting that the volunteers would not have been inebriated and would have made the decision responsibly. Six individuals in the country now have the right to free travel with such a tattoo.