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24 September 2014
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    Bellyvision - MK Theatre District advert
    Bellyvision - MK Theatre District advert

    What's on belly tonight?

    Forget billboards, bellies are the way to attract attention, that's according to a new marketing idea being tried in Milton Keynes!


    A new service which replaces advertising billboards with models' washboard stomachs could be seen in Milton Keynes!

    Called Bellyvision, it aims to grab the attention of marketing-weary city dwellers. Advertisers pay £30 to have their message painted on the bare belly of a model who then walks around for two hours.

    And the Milton Keynes' theatre district is among others advertisers already interested in using the scheme.

    The company has already signed up clients in London, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Leeds and Wolverhampton for the service. The next step is to recruit male and female models willing to bare their bellies in each area.

    Martyn Coote from BBC Three Counties Buckinghamshire Breakfast show spoke to Steve Wilcock from PMW Limited, the company hosting the bellies.

    Martyn started by offering his own well grown belly.

    Eye catching advertising?!
    Eye catching advertising?!

    Steve: Some of our interest has come from companies that actually want to develop the idea for beer bellies, big hairy beer bellies especially.  Not necessarily for the Theatre District but for other clients.

    What kind of adverts will you be putting on these models?

    Steve: It is basically an advertising message. We're aware that especially in London the average commuter was exposed to 3,500 marketing messages in one day, which is far to much to take on board. What we wanted to do was put adverts on something that people were already looking at and a fit or tight stomach is one of those things that we all like to look at.

    Is this not every so slightly sexist?

    Steve: No it's more sexy than sexist.

    But it is more titillation, you're encouraging people to stare at young model's stomachs?

    Steve: Well if we were using only women then I would consider that to be sexist but we're not. On Oxford Street yesterday we launched it with two guys and two girls and the guys created more interest than the women.

    Where did you get the whole idea from?

    Steve: A while ago I seem to remember somebody put their forehead on an auction site on the Internet for advertising and I thought that was quite a weird idea but the exposure it generated in terms of publicity was good. 

    This advert attracted a lot of female attention.
    This advert attracted a lot of female attention.

    But the actual idea for one person walking around with his forehead with an advertising message on it, it didn't create a great deal of interest. So we wanted to do a similar sort of thing that was a bit sexy, not vulgar, but be able to do it more wide spread. 

    The response we have had in say the West Midlands from models coming forward saying 'yeah I want to be part of that' is phenomenal.  This morning I have been inundated, so I'm hoping the people of Milton Keynes will come forward as well.

    It is not bad money, £30 for a couple of hours work?

    Steve: It is fair money, if there are any students out there that want to earn a bit of extra cash then it is all good.

    The canvas you have to work with isn't very big are there any limits to what you can put on there?

    "We thought about legs and things like that but I think the stomach just works, it is just the perfect place to put a billboard."
    Steve Wilcock, from PMW Ltd on Bellyvision.

    Steve: It is for a short message but it also enables you to be targeted, we've been contacted by people like car supermarkets that basically want a short message which will go on a models stomach so they can go into the car manufacturers main dealers with 'buy the same car but cheaper at...'.

    A specific short targeted message, I don't think there is anything illegal about it as long as they leave when they are asked to leave.

    So you won't be advocating that they stay there and cause a stir?

    Steve: Definitely not, we will be briefing every model and making sure that they act in the companies best interest at all times.

    Any messages that have been popular so far?

    Washboards become billboards.
    Washboards become billboards.

    Steve: We did it as a test bed yesterday and we had three shopping centre environments on Oxford Street and the stir that they created was amazing, people were just stopping looking and reading and they thought it was wonderful. 

    So hopefully it is going to be really successful, I don't think it is going to have a huge life span because once these ideas have been explored as far as they can they tend not to last.  But certainly for the time being for innovative advertisers I think it is going to be good fun.

    Any plans to use any other parts of peoples anatomy?

    Steve: We've thought about all sorts of things to do but certainly for this we wanted something that could be mainstream, that could be sexy. Guys and girls are always checking each other out anyway, so we thought of something that could be sexy and not vulgar and something that could still be mainstream. 

    We thought about legs and things like that but I think the stomach just works, it is just the perfect place to put a billboard.

    last updated: 04/04/06
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