Back in 2002 the first Bumfights video came out. Basically, a group of unrepentant rich kids paid homeless men to fight with each other. They recorded the fights and posted them to YouTube. Eventually, they even paid for the “bums” to have BUMFIGHT tattooed on their forehead. There’s a Channel 4 documentary about it (here).
How quickly the worm turns. This week Grey London, an ad agency, won an award from YouTube for their FilmHack competition. The idea was for ad agencies to demonstrate they understood how YouTube communities worked. The winning entry saw Lexi, a YouTuber, play #Tattroulette. She asked viewers to sender her tattoo designs and promised to have one of the designed tattooed on her. If you watch the video, it’s pretty silly as the tattoo she gets is basically exactly the same as the picture she shows when asking for designs. It’s also striking that there’s no mention of the competition or of Grey’s involvement in the videos.
I think this is a perfect analogy for social media. We’ve gone from rich kids paying bums, to ad agencies paying rich girls to get tattoos for our viewing pleasure. Apart from showing that ad agencies can pay idiots to have bad ideas, I’m not sure what else this competition achieves.