Mtl Tattoo and DentsuBos bring (tattoo) art to the masses

Who: Mtl Tattoo and DentsuBos Montreal.

What: “The Permanent Collection,” a new campaign for the Montreal-based tattoo studio.

When & Where: The campaign broke Jan. 17 with a paid social component using the hashtag #ThePermanentCollection. The video highlights a guerrilla stunt that took place at two Montreal art galleries late last year, and invites people to share a picture of their own tattoo on social using the campaign hashtag.

Why: The studio recently consolidated its two Montreal studios into a single store on St. Denis St. and wanted to promote the new location.

How: The premise is that tattoos have evolved from being what the video calls “the mark of the outcast,” to a common art-form expressing individuality and creativity. According to the two-minute video, 25% of Canadians now have a tattoo. “If tattooing is considered to be a form of art by such a large number of people, why doesn’t the art world give tattoo artists the recognition they deserve?” asks the video.

To promote that idea, DentsuBos enlisted a group of tattooed Canadians to visit Montreal art galleries— including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts—without permission and pose with their tattoo prominently displayed. Each participant was given a small placard similar to that found near a work of art.

“We wanted to find something really specific to say not just about them but about the tattoo industry, how tattoo artists are perceived and how the tattoo itself has evolved,” said Julien Thiry, associate creative director with DentsuBos, who developed the campaign with copywriter Siname Pogossian.

A little more virtual ink: It is the agency’s second campaign for Mtl Tattoo. The first, “Ink your promise,” was timed to coincide with the 2014 federal election, with the studio inviting candidates to turn their election promises into a tattoo. They got “really close” to having one candidate participate, said Thiry.

And we quote:“The best [outcome] from the campaign would be to get a call from a museum or gallery in Montreal that would be interested in setting up an exhibit around tattoo art or tattoo artists,” said Thiry.

Chris Powell