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January 31, 2013

Tattoo artist nabs $16 million in free ads with Kaepernick's ink

The telephone rings nonstop these days at Endless Ink in Reno, Nev., where the Super Bowl run of Colin Kaepernick has tattoo seekers waiting four months to use the same artist as the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback.

"Business has really, really picked up, doubled," says Nes Andrion, 35, Endless Ink's owner who just might emerge as Super Bowl Sunday's big winner.

Andrion will get his work displayed for free while companies such as Anheuser-Busch, the world's biggest brewer, BlackBerry and PepsiCo., sponsor of the halftime show, pay up to $4 million for a 30-second ad during Sunday's National Football League championship game between the 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.

They are paying to be part of one of the rare telecasts that still draws a large live audience. An average of 111.3 million people watched last year's game, in which the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots, the most in U.S. television history, according to Comcast's NBC. This year's game in New Orleans is being shown by CBS, which reaped an average $3.75 million per 30-second commercial.

Kaepernick, 25, and the tattoos that cover most of his chest, back and arms will get about two minutes of so-called focus time during the broadcast, said Eric Wright, president of Joyce Julius & Associates, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based sports advertising evaluation company. That translates into about $16 million in exposure on game day.

"With Kaepernick's tats expected to be front and center, his tattoo artist will certainly be a major beneficiary without having to spend a dime," said Bob Dorfman, executive director at San Francisco-based Baker Street Advertising. "He won't be as talked about as the marketers who score the best ads of the game, but for pure return on investment he'll be very hard to beat."

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