We chatted with Jason George and asked him all about his strange obsession with brand logos.
Some call him a human billboard, others just call him crazy; but Jason George's love for tattoos is hard to deny. It's even harder to miss considering the 27-year-old has around 350 plus brand logos tattooed on his body. He's been officially recognised by the Limca Book of World Records (2015) for having the most number of brand logo tattoos (321 at the time). His ultimate goal is to enter the Guinness Book of World Records, but for now, he's content.
"I've loved brands since I was young," Jason recalls. The earliest logo he wanted to have tattooed was Coca-Cola's. His first tattoo, however, was an arm piece with skulls (at 16).
"There are brands all around us and they've always fascinated me. You start your day with Colgate toothpaste and you end it with Good Knight. It's hard to live without them. I'm very interested in how a brand functions, how it markets itself, how it captures a place in the subconscious mind of consumers," was his reply when asked 'why brands logos?'.
Fuelled by a need to stand out when he was younger, Jason says that all his tattoos tell a story. "All of these brands have influenced me and have had a profound effect on my life," he claims.
"When I was younger, I would buy Cycle agarbattis and so, I got its logo tattooed. I also have the logo of Lijjat papad because I appreciate that the brand is doing something tangible to help empower women and help them earn a living," Jason explains.
Jason worked odd jobs to earn a side income. He says, "I used to fix computers to earn money on the side and that's why I have these computer company names tattooed on me." He showed us tattoos of brands like IBM, Cisco, and Intel on his legs.
"My parents did not support my getting the tattoos and I was at a point where I had to sell my cell phones to pay for them. Since I have a habit of talking about brands to my friends and advertising for them by word of mouth, I would tell them about how good a handset I purchased was. This is when one friend casually suggested I get a tattoo of it; that's where it all began," he explains pulling his collar back to reveal a tattoo of the Micromax fist on his shoulder.
That single suggestion was enough to spark the desire to get brands tattooed and prompted him to draw up a list of logos that he wanted to get done. Soon, a few logos turned into many and eventually Jason had over a 100 brand logos tattooed on his body. "That's when I got the idea to set a world record because it's something that nobody has done before," he says excitedly.
When asked what he'd do if the company changed its logo, Jason replies, "It doesn't bother me if they do because I'm getting this tattoo for myself. It won't make a difference now because, at that point, it meant something to me. I have logos on me which aren't currently in use by some companies, but it's my story. "
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We were curious as to whether he's ever influenced a customer to get a brand tattoo. "I have. A client used to work for Cisco. He felt it was right because he had worked there for a long time and I sort of egged him on. I told him that this is the company that gave him his bread and butter," he responds grinning mischievously.
Despite having such a close relation with brands, he does not do any endorsements. A company offered him a very large sum as a tie-up provided he hid or modified the competing brand's logo on his body. He declined. "These tattoos are a timeline of my life. They are a part of my identity. I refused because I don't want to change this. Just because I enjoy drinking a Coke doesn't mean I don't like a Pepsi. Both brands hold value to me and that's why I said no. I'm not doing this for the money," Jason explains.
It's just as well; when the dot com bubble emerged in early 2000, it was common practice for companies to pay money and get their logos and website names tattooed. However, when the bubble burst, a lot of people were left with tattoos of websites and companies that were defunct. We asked Jason if he has any regrets over any of his tattoos. "I do, but I can't tell you which ones," he says before signing off with a smile.
Jason has, collectively, 521 tattoos on his body currently. 442 are brand logos.