The searing touch of a needle—followed by an exquisite rush of adrenaline—is the sensation tattoo enthusiasts dream of. But for those of you less inclined to step into the hot seat and walk out permanently inked, a clever new banner (above) promoting Needled.com lets you play artist, offering up a Suicide Girl’s back as your canvas and the mouse as your brush.
Co-designed by Needled.com publisher, Josh Rubin, and Mike Bodge of New York interactive boutique, The Best, the ad—exclusively featured on the sadistically hilarious Gawker and on Rubin’s main site, CoolHunting.com—conveys a new level of interactivity between advertiser and end user. Indulge in vicious fun within this Flash-powered setting: The cursor becomes a tattoo artist’s arm and needle, allowing you to scrawl across the girl’s bare back by holding down the left-click button on your mouse. “The main thing I wanted to do was something interactive,” Rubin says. “Being an online publisher, I’ve seen a lot of campaigns go by. Some of them that are just static or linear animations are great, but there have only been a few interactive banners that have really caught my attention in the last year.”
So he set out to design an ad that would satisfy his own desires and drive users to his rather original site. Tired of seeing tattoos represented by nothing but pretty pictorials, especially on the web, Rubin says he designed The Needled.com landing page to offer a more didactic, substantive take on tattooing. “I decided back in April that there weren’t any tattoo sites that I wanted to go read everyday. I’ve only been looking at pictures, and I didn’t find any sites that had an intellectual dialogue about the art of tattooing or any sites that went beyond the tattoo work that artists were doing.
That was really my intention for starting the site. It’s a topic that I’m very passionate about and enjoy reading.” After three months of content-building, the site officially launched this past August.
With Needled.com editor Marisa Kakoulas DiMattia now onboard, Rubin’s found the ideal co-conspirator that rivals his passion for ink. “Marisa is a lawyer, a journalist and a fixture in the tattoo community,” he says. “She’s a great writer and she’s actually been one of the first people who’ve created dialogue on copyright issues in tattooing. She’s also known within the tattoo community as a tattoo snob. But she’s earned a particular reputation for having this stylistic and intellectual angle on the art of tattooing.”
With both “tattoo snob” and content in place, Rubin’s hoping the nifty banner ad will elevate Needled.com’s web presence. Since it only launched last week, it’s soon to crunch numbers. But Rubin’s already seen the effects. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in traffic. What’s important to me is whether there is an increase in returning visitors, and we’re seeing that too. The banners are driving people to the site, and the content is driving them back.”
See? There is a free, painless, and non-permanent way to get inked after all. Check out www.needled.com for proof.