You know when your brand has achieved something special when your customers spend their hard-earned cash to have your commercial logo permanently etched onto their skin. Welcome to the world of the badge of honour.
The most famous of these "badges" is the M Dot - the Ironman logo which tells everyone the levels of your physical abilities in one simple letter and one punctuation mark. The M Dot does not stop there - there are now 70.3 M Dots (the half Ironman). This can be either shown with the numbers below the M Dot or even as a half filled M Dot (see left)... yes, you've guessed it the remainder of the M Dot is filled up when you finally get round to completing the full Ironman distance.
Branding is not just the domain of the triathlete, some un-timed events have generated such a following that participants are heading straight for the tattooist in a haze of post-event glory.
There are now an estimated 10,000 Tough Mudder tattoos in the world.
Some of the earliest event tattoos were seen not from participation sport but from elite sport. The Olympic Rings tattoo is a symbol that elite athletes including Tom Daley, Ryan Lochte to Missy Franklin have all proudly adorned.
So, the final question is when should you adorn yourself with an event tattoo? In the case of the Olympics, we think it is fair to have that tattoo before the event. After all you've earned the right to be there and it is the taking part and not the winning that counts, right? But in the fields of participation sport it most definitely has to be post-event, following your successful conquering of that significant challenge. Although one Ironman we met as part of our research for Marathon Swims had actually booked his appointment for his M Dot before completing his first event - that shows the power of the badge of honour.
So, who will be the first to have the Marathon Swims tattoo? Who knows, but there's a free place for life in our Marathon Swims events for whoever does!