If tattoos are a sign of permanent commitment, Carnival Cruise Line vice president of sales and trade marketing Adolfo Perez made the ultimate commitment to travel agents over the weekend.
He had "Travel Agents Rock" tattooed on his arm.
The 3-inch tattoo on Perez's left deltoid was inked on stage at Carnival's Agentpalooza stop along the New Orleans waterfront.
About 150 agents and family members watched Perez get the tattoo, which took about 20 minutes to finish.
Asked how much it hurt, Perez said "On a scale of one to 10, it's about a 3."
Agentpalooza is a six-city bus tour by Carnival sales executives meant to play up the idea that travel agents are rock stars.
At the New Orleans event, agents were ferried to the pier side location in a white stretch limo and greeted by a gaggle of Carnival employees pleading for their autographs and holding up placards reading "I'm Your Biggest Fan" and "Carnival + Travel Agents 4Eva." Agents had their photos snapped by Carnival-hired paparazzi and could don wigs and get their faces made up like David Bowie-style glam rockers.
Carnival's Agentpalooza: Treating agents like rock stars
"The whole idea is to give them a rock star moment," said Kirk Neal, Carnival's regional vice president of trade sales for the East Coast and Caribbean.
Perez said it wasn't his plan to take it as far as getting a tattoo, but when it was proposed to him, he didn't flinch. "I think everybody at work thinks I'm crazy to do this," said Perez, who already has tattoos of his son's names, plus a couple of other unspecified ones. "It wasn't my idea, but I liked it."
The live tattoo was suggested by Jordan Lipton, creative director of Sapient, the ad agency that worked with Carnival to flesh out the Agentpalooza concept.
Perez said there were five or six designs floated and "Travel Agents Rock" underscored by a lightning bolt came out on top.
The event at Mardi Gras World, which had to be postponed a day because of inclement weather, was the second stop on the tour, which started May 11 in Houston. It continues this week in Charleston, S.C., Atlanta and Jacksonville, Fla., before wrapping up in Orlando.