This is McDonald’s advert for its Big Flavour Wraps.‘Live bolder this lunchtime’ is the slogan. Crucial to the ad’s story is the person preparing and serving the wrap, who is conspicuously tattooed on the arm and neck.
In terms of the ad’s content and it’s overall message, her appearance is a definite asset.
So does this mark a shift in corporate attitudes to visible body art? It is become something of a minefield and a key discussion point. One side considers issues of discrimination and employee rights. The other side considers employers’ responsibilities.
Britain’s most tattooed man, and alternative lifestyle proponent, King Of Ink Land, comments, “McDonald’s has a large advertising department. They would know that tattoos have found a resurgence in modern society. I’m sure they also know that their customers are from diverse backgrounds.”
It seems as though tattoos are okay…..if they fit in with the corporate business plan. But what about a less obvious match, in a school for example?
“I’d rather my daughter was taught by someone who knows what they’re doing regardless of appearance,” King Of Ink Land says. “Employers should concentrate on how suited a job applicant is, based on their experience and attitude, not their appearance”.
Tattoos have grown in popularity with one in five adults estimated to have one, rising to one in three young adults. King of Ink Land has even talked face to face with MP and Minister of State for Skills, Nick Boles, about the issue of discrimination by appearance.
The conciliatory service, ACAS, publishes advice about tattoos and piercings on its website. This urges employers to carefully consider their dress-code rules and to ensure that if they have them, they are for sound business reasons.
“This country is now, per head, the most heavily inked in the world,” King Of Ink Land concludes, “and people are now having to fight for their right to freedom of expression.”
The tattooed girl in the McDonald’s ad might be an indicator of a cultural shift, or she may simply be the end result of McDonald’s’ sharp marketing. What is clear is that the issue of visible body art in the workplace is not going to go away while body modification continues to grow in popularity.
Business Aspects Magazine appreciates the contribution made by King of Ink Land to this article. If you would like to know more about him please visit his website