July 7, 2015

Calling girls without dragon tattoos: Hachette Australia would like to have your back


She's BackIt was only a matter of time, wasn’t it, before someone would think this was a good marketing idea: Hachette Australia is looking for a woman to “donate” her back for a tattoo to promote The Girl in the Spider’s Web. This is the fourth book in Stieg Larsson‘s Millennium Series, though this book isn’t by Larsson at all; it is the first book in the series written by David Lagercrantz after Larsson passed away in 2004.

Hachette is calling this a “tatvertising campaign.” Oh, dear.

“Once complete, the tattoo will be photographed and used for outdoor media to promote the launch. The applicant will effectively become ‘the back’ of the campaign,” a Hachette spokesperson told the Sydney Morning Herald.

The price of the black-and-white tattoo, which will be 200 mm by 300 mm (just under a foot), will be covered by the publisher. It will take eight hours, and will be completed by Kaleidoscope Tattoo in Sydney.

The woman in question will donate her back “for three months,” though obviously the tattoo will last longer than the promotion. Applicants have 255 characters to express why they’re interested in promoting the series. Hachette is staging a casting call on July 15.

Eighty million copies of the series have been sold worldwide. This new volume will be published in twenty-five countries simultaneously, with a printing of 500,000 in the U.S.

Larsson’s longtime partner, Eva Gabrielsson, has had a long rights battle over the Millennium Series. In an interview with NPR, she said continuing the series with a fourth book after Larsson’s passing was a “completely idiotic choice.”


Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.