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Man earns money with tattoo 'ads' on body
Updated: 2005-01-28 14:32

Joe Tamargo wears his support for Martha Stewart on his sleeve. Actually, it's UNDER his sleeve.

Joe Tamargo shows off a tattoo reading 'Save Martha!' on his arm, in a tattoo shop in Huntington, N.Y., Thursday, Jan. 27, 2005. Tamargo, 31, has started a new enterprise, selling advertisers the opportunity to permanently tattoo their messages on his body. [AP]

Tamargo, 31, has started a new enterprise, selling advertisers the opportunity to permanently tattoo their messages on his body.

A California pharmaceutical company last week posted an ad for pilldaddy.com on Tamargo's right arm for $500.

On Thursday, he earned $510 to have "Save Martha! It's a good thing. SaveMartha.com" permanently etched in multicolored letters further down his right arm.

"They say there's nothing better in advertising than word of mouth," Tamargo said in a telephone interview from his home in Port Jefferson Station, on Long Island. "I figured this might be better."

So he posted an offer on eBay and before he knew it, the responses came trickling in.

Tatto artist Dylan Schreifels adds a tattoo to Joe Tamargo reading 'Save Martha!' as Tamargo holds a print of the same in a tattoo shop in Huntington, N.Y., Thursday, Jan. 27, 2005. [AP]
Other people have sold their body for temporary tattoo messages that last about a week, but he claims to be the only one agreeing to be stuck with permanent messages.

"I think this is a way to connect people with businesses," said Tamargo, who already had traditional tattoos, including a cross, before going commercial.

"I figure instead of people wearing a Tommy Hilfiger logo on their shirt, they can wear the actual logo on their arm."

Hani Durzy, a spokesman for eBay, said the online sales service has no objection to what Tamargo is doing. "The most important thing is that the buyer and seller agree on the terms, whatever the deal is," he said.

He said it wasn't clear if this was the first time anyone had used eBay to offer their bodies for permanently tattooed advertising.

"It's hard to say there's a first time for anything, but I wouldn't say this is an emerging trend," Durzy said.

John Small, the leader of the Martha Stewart fan group SaveMartha.com, says he has been exploring various ways to keep the spotlight on the domestic goddess's plight. She was convicted last year for lying about a stock deal in 2001.

"We were looking for a way to make our message heard," Small said. "We were thinking this would be a good shot in the arm."

Tamargo, who runs a Web site called "LivingAdSpace.com," refuses to accept any advertisement he deems explicit or controversial. Also, he will only advertise products and messages he endorses.

"I definitely support her," Tamargo said of Stewart. "I think she was targeted for the wrong reasons and I think her punishment was too severe."

Madison Avenue advertising guru Jerry DellaFemina could hardly contain his laughter when asked if Tamargo may be starting some new trend.

"This may be the END of advertising," he chuckled. "Really, this may be it."

He also couldn't help himself when speculating on how far tattoo advertising may go.

"I don't even want to ask where he might want to place an ad for Viagra."

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