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'Walking billboard' secures 500 new customers

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Those companies looking for a novel way to grow their business could do worse than follow the example of US hosting outfit CI Host.

For the next five years a 22-year-old man from Illinois will roam the States with a five-inch CI Host tattoo on the back of his head, handing out business cards and flyers.

The company reportedly secured Jim Nelson's services via a eBay auction, although he receives no salary or commission. To date the "human billboard" has attracted 500 new customers, a coup described as "a tremendous success" by CI Host CEO Christopher Faulkner.

It appears that CI Host has relied heavily on publicity stunts to attract its current 200,000+ customers. Indeed, the company has in the past sponsored a NASCAR race car, sent one compo winner on a jet-bound trip to the stratosphere, erected a giant Santa on the roof of its headquarters and stuck its logo on the back of Evander Holyfield's boxing trunks.

Which reminds us of our own unsuccessful attempt to find some brave and cash-strapped bloke willing to have the famous vulture logo tattooed on his penis.

We can't help feeling that CI Host should immediately resurrect this bold marketing strategy. For starters, the average male can comfortably accomodate the length of the name - which "print area" practicality is why you'll never see BTBroadband on someone's todger, unless it's in a video called Swedish ADSL Routerfest.

What's more, it's a great and fun way to penetrate the largely untapped female/gay hosting market. And, of course, it'll get you a mention on IT news sites where exasperated, world-weary hacks will twitter on about the depths to which some companies will sink in order to drum up a bit of trade. Oh yes, and speculate about how thick you have to be to have a company logo tattooed on your body.

Not on El Reg though, where we always applaud and encourage innovation in marketing. Especially when it involves self-mutilation. Bravo. ®

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