November 13, 2007 by

HandvertisingWhat on earth is handvertising? Just what you think–it’s advertising on the back of someone’s hand, available from Handvertising USA. They wanted me to blog about this new form of advertising that’s “completely different from the television commercials and magazine ads people are used to,” according to their press release. Sounds mark-of-the-beast-ilicious, doesn’t it?

This new approach raises more questions than answers. Is marketing going too far? Could anyone take this seriously in a church setting?

Personally, I’m a big proponent of the “less is more” theory. I’ve written on it several times. I wonder if this is a sign of saturation in this booming field of communication. Maybe I’m alone and you love the idea. Maybe you think NASCAR could use some more ads on their cars and drivers. I wonder if churches are better off concentrating our efforts on doing a few things well, rather than lots things of cheap and cheesy.

But could something like handvertising be used in an effective way? What about putting your youth group’s logo on the hands of students as they enter your events, concerts or lock-ins? What if a key word, theme or Scripture verse that was emphasized in your worship service was stamped on the back of your hand as a reminder as you go throughout the coming week? That physical reminder could build connection, sharpen shared experiences and be a powerful tool to reinforce spiritual commitments.

Or it could just be annoying as you try to scrub it off the next day.

Is all this non-sense? Again, I don’t know. I’m simply giving you food for thought. So I ask, how many of you can see yourself using a marketing ploy like this in your ministry context and culture? How many of you think this is a crazy idea?

Post By:

Greg Atkinson

Greg Atkinson is the editor of Christian Media Magazine and author of Church Leadership Essentials and Strange Leadership: 40 Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization.
Read more posts by | Want to write for us?

13 Responses to “Handvertising?”

  • Lex
    November 13, 2007

    I’m going to go with annoying largely because they’re never going to look like that picture. Their website admits the examples given are Photo Shop-ed.

     | Permalink
  • Derek Berg
    November 13, 2007

    I do think it’s a crazy idea, but of course I LOVE crazy ideas. Plus it helps that we are starting to use a very similar idea in our Student Ministry. Typically we use UV ink that we scan with a blacklight to make sure that they’ve checked in, this let’s us do attendance in a semi-cool way. But what goes along with your “handvertising” is that when we have special events we use plain ink and custom stamps to advertise our event. This gets it to the parents, the students, and their friends. Not sure how it would work in a “big church” setting but I definetly feel it can have ministry benefits.

     | Permalink
  • C. Michael Pilato
    November 13, 2007

    “Patent Pending”, says the website.
    “Doesn’t pass the ‘duh’ test”, says I.
    “You’ll get ink poisoning”, says that memory of my dear Mother’s voice playing in the back of my head.

     | Permalink
  • Brent Logan
    November 13, 2007

    Sounds like the “mark of the beast” to me. ;-)

     | Permalink
  • Brent Ziemann
    November 13, 2007

    I think this situation leads to what I believe is the root of the issue.
    When did Jesus become a product or service to be marketed. I mean how long until the local news’s Deal or Dud segment picks up on this marketing movement and reviews Jesus as a dud because the actions of local Christians don’t reflect the hype thrown out there by local churches?
    Jesus is more than a few catch phrases and marketing initiatives.
    He’s the one who can intercede during any storm and bring peace.
    He can take the broken remains of a drug addicts life and bring it hope, meaning and purpose.
    It’s a noble cause to market these triumphs to a world that is hurting and lost.
    However, it is much easier to market Jesus than it is to live out a life that models the marking hype.
    I fear the response I would get if I were to survey local Christian on when the last time was that they have shared what Jesus had done for them with someone else in their community.
    If you want a marketing plan try a viral one. One that starts with sharing personally what Jesus is doing in each of our lives. It doesn’t require a hand stamp just the courage to share the difference Jesus has made.
    For His Renown,

     | Permalink
  • Phil
    November 13, 2007

    It’s not marketing, it’s advertising probably boardering on spam.
    As with most things this probably has its place, but as a tool for Christians looking to disciple people and build relationships I just can’t see it. I appreciate all the tools, logos, advertising ideas etc; but to really be effective Christians shouldn’t we really be starting with “Hello”.

     | Permalink
  • Anjuan
    November 13, 2007

    I see that someone already brought up the mark of the beast thought which is what a lot of Christians would think. However, I believe that we have to be radical in reaching out the non-believers and even teen Christians. Look at how popular henna body art is among young people. I think that finding a young talented artist from the youth group who does the painting would be a great interactive way to make this work. Finally, Jesus is definitely more than a catch phrase or logo, but I think we need “become all things that we might win some”. Didn’t Paul see the idol to an unknown God and use it as the basis for a great marketing pitch?

     | Permalink
  • Mark Cork
    November 13, 2007

    Sort of reminds me of the goofy buttons I used to wear when I was in Jr High in the early 70’s (I’m not proud of it but it’s true). I had several of them that supposedly were good ways to witness to my friends. The problem was they built more walls than bridges because most people couldn’t relate to what was being said.

     | Permalink
  • Todd Staffford
    November 13, 2007

    It could be effective if used for the right event and not over-used. We use to do a big youth outreach every couple of months, and the week before we’d have everyone put on a bright (to the point of ugly it was so bright) wristbands on everyone. Then when some asked why we were wearing it, we’d use it as a chance to invite them to come.

     | Permalink
  • Josh Roberts
    November 13, 2007

    I dont think that this idea will work in most churches. As someone mentioned earlier that this could work great for teens or youth events!
    As your youth ministry grows you will need some sort of tracking system to keep students current in the database. This is a great way to tell which students have checked in at each event.
    I love the idea – we have used it many times before and will continue to use it for youth events!

     | Permalink
  • James Nahrgang
    November 13, 2007

    I love the idea, and I think it could work well… it’s just a matter of execution. I think the only way you could get away with it (without it being annoying), is if you were using it for admission (like a ticket)… or, if you had a group of people that were willing to use their hands as advertisements. I’ve seen youth groups make “fads” within their church… if done right, the youth could see it as “cool.” But this might take some work.

     | Permalink
  • Gene Mason
    November 15, 2007

    Well, we wear shirts and drink from cups and drive cars with advertising on them.
    I think most folks have a sense about these things, though, and when I read this I just hear the ticking clock in the background because I think the “handvertisement” concept’s 15 minutes are just about up.

     | Permalink
  • I personally think this is a great idea if it is used right. I know it is going far but think of how many kids these days and people in general want tattoos. This is an eye grabber and an ice breaker.

     | Permalink

Advertising, Off the Wall