Benefits and disadvantages of Waterless Tattoos

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Michael Merrick Crooks from “Crooks Advertising Alliance” in the United States tells us more about the waterless temporary tattoos.

Which are the benefits and disadvantages of these tattoos compared with the normal temporary tattoo applied with water:

Michael Merrick Crooks for the benefits:
And myself for the disadvantages (I know, I couldn’t help sticking my nose into it!…) :

“My association with waterless tattoos began quite innocently with a library-quiet car ride despite having a 10 year-old daughter and an 8 year-old son in the back seat. The peaceful respite from the calamity that usually takes place behind me should have been my clue that something was up. But I was enjoying the rare serenity to the point that I was actually lost in my thoughts — until this strange “popping air” sound elbowed its way to the forefront of my consciousness.

Turns out the “popping air” sound was the two of them spitting on a temporary tattoo and themselves and my upholstery in an attempt to apply a water type temporary tattoo. The police officer — to whom I first related this story by way of explaining a series of questionable lane changes I made during my discovery of the happenings in the back seat — agreed with me that perhaps we need to rethink this whole temporary tattoo thing.

The event caused me to look deeper into a new promotional product just introduced at the time called waterless tattoos. My research over the next several months brought to light five distinct benefits of waterless tattoos over the conventional temporary tattoo (CTT) that required water to apply.

By and large, I believe eliminating the need for kids to spit on each other is the single biggest benefit of waterless tattoos. Germs and bacteria in saliva can spread all kinds of diseases such as the common cold . Waterless tattoos are heat-activated thus eliminating the need for water — or in the absence of a clean water supply – spit.
BUT, we don’t have to forget that temporary tattoos are actually a spring and summer product, and the probability of getting a cold is lower!!

Less Mess
Because there’s no water involved, waterless tattoos are less messy. This is a great benefit especially when you have little kids at an indoor event. You don’t have to worry about spills or water on the carpet.

Less Planning
In order to effectively use CTT’s during a promotional event, you must plan for water. With waterless tattoos, water is one less thing for which you need to plan.

Cold Weather Comfort
Application comfort in cold weather is another benefit of the waterless tattoos. Here in Michigan, there’s a nip in the air during football season. It was at one of my son’s games on a chilly Saturday in November, I watched a mom apply a CTT on her kids with a wet paper towel. The cold sorta took the fun out of it for the kids. With waterless tattoos, children enjoy the warmth of mommy or daddy’s warm hand pressed against their cheek.

Positive Image
An important benefit of waterless tattoos for corporate promotions involves corporate identification policies. Because of the way CCT’s are applied, the image and words appears backwards prior to being applied. Waterless tattoos on the other hand, make a better presentation because everything — company logo, picture or wording is right-reading, right from the start. That also makes it easier to proof the artwork. What you see is what you get.

One thing to be mindful of with waterless tattoos regards the fact that they are heat-activated. Storage in direct sunlight, near a high-heat source such as a radiator or in a sun-soaked car is discouraged. When stored at high temperatures the tattoo may adhere itself to the cover sheet. For that reason, storage in a cool place in an airtight container is recommended. If the tattoos will sit around at an outdoor event or in a car prior to distribution, keeping them in an insulated lunch sack or small cooler will preserve their integrity.

One disadvantage of waterless tattoos: they have a real short life, one-off use, while CTT’s are made to last for a longer time.
Another disadvantage: during the transfer, you might lose some pieces of the visual which gives worse look on the skin and therefore, also damages the brand image!.

I remember as a kid, my friends and I would do just about anything, including behave, for a sticker. Today, temporary tattoos are the stickers of the 2000’s. Kids love ’em. But as adults, we must recognize that kids will be kids. And as marketers of our brands, companys and events, we need to make appropriate promotional product choices for their sake … and our image”.

To see other articles on different aspects of promotional marketing, visit:

Thank you for this useful information on waterless tattoos Mr Crooks!