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Q&A: Brock McLaughlin, a Toronto-based marketing guru, on his tattoo of Baby Yoda drinking White Claw

The $300 ink job got Jimmy Fallon talking

Q&A: Brock McLaughlin, a Toronto-based marketing guru, on his tattoo of Baby Yoda drinking White Claw

Earlier this week, Toronto-based social media marketer Brock McLaughlin released his latest tattoo—a depiction of Baby Yoda cradling a White Claw Hard Seltzer—into the Twitterverse. Since then, McLaughlin and his tipsy Star Wars tattoo have gone viral: the original Tweet got nearly 30,000 likes and Jimmy Fallon mentioned McLaughlin in his opening monologue on The Tonight Show. We spoke to McLaughlin, 29, about becoming an online sensation overnight.

In the nicest way possible: What in the name of Darth were you thinking?

I guess I wasn’t thinking very hard. I wanted to get a new tattoo. I get cravings sometimes. Baby Yoda and White Claw Seltzer have brought me a lot of joy this year, so I decided to combine them.

The new season of The Crown brought me a lot of joy in 2019, but I didn’t permanently ink it on myself.

I’m already a big tattoo person. I’ve got about 20, and a lot are pop culture related. My dog Sid Vicious passed away, so I have him with Calvin and Hobbes. I have a tattoo of Harambe the gorilla. It’s just stuff that makes me happy.

Harambe was the gorilla who got shot and killed when a child accidentally fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. I feel like looking at that would make me feel sad. 

I guess it’s about paying homage to the virality of the moment. A lot of people came together on the Internet to protest the fact that Harambe got killed. They thought, Why not just shoot him with a tranquillizer gun? I get a lot of love for the tattoo, especially in Cincinnati.

When did you get the tattoo, and when did you show it to people?

I got it after work on Wednesday. The same guy does all my tattoos—Paul Wolk at The Duchess Tattoo Shop.

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Q&A: Brock McLaughlin, a Toronto-based marketing guru, on his tattoo of Baby Yoda drinking White Claw

Was there any hesitation on his part?

No, he loved it. It’s not like he gets asked to do that every day. It took two hours. We had our holiday party that night, but I had it wrapped up and I was wearing a blazer.

Were you dying to tell people?

Of course! I was bursting. But you have to keep the wrap on so it doesn’t get scratched or infected.

How much did you pay for it?

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Less than $300.

And just so we’re clear here—this is your tattoo? There’s some writer on Twitter named Stefan Heck who’s claiming it’s his arm in the picture. 

Yeah, it’s me. I made a video so people can see. I don’t know who that guy is or what he’s trying to do. A couple hours after I posted, he started taking my photos and saying it was him.

Is that a normal part of Internet culture?

I guess it’s kind of like the Wild West.

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What can you tell me about yourself other than the fact that you currently have the world’s most talked about tattoo?

I grew up in Vancouver and moved to Toronto about 10 years ago. I worked in music for a while, but tech and gaming have always been my passions. I work at Spin Master in a social marketing role. The Internet is kind of where I live.

Then you must have had some idea this would blow up?

I guess I thought it would get some attention, but I had no idea how much. I sit in meetings all the time where we talk about trying to make something go viral. The reality is, you just never know.

So this wasn’t a stunt to earn more followers?

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I did it because I thought it would be fun. That said, I know how much money goes into boosting content and getting posts in front of people—hundreds of thousands of dollars. My tattoo has gotten over 4 million impressions in 36 hours, so that’s a pretty good bargain.

Q&A: Brock McLaughlin, a Toronto-based marketing guru, on his tattoo of Baby Yoda drinking White Claw

You mentioned you work at Spin Master. Did you consider getting one of the Paw Patrol Pups tattooed on your arm instead?

I actually do have a Spin Master–related tattoo. It’s of the Fuggler, which is the toy I’ve been most involved in marketing.

Most of us know that the world is going wild over Baby Yoda’s cuteness. Can you explain the White Claw part? 

I spend a lot of time in Los Angeles—where White Claw is available—for work. It’s delicious, the perfect drink for sitting by the pool at the end of the week. And it was a huge deal over the summer. I’ve heard rumours that they’re coming to Ontario. I hope that’s true. I want to be their brand ambassador.

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Well you’ve certainly gotten their attention. White Claw commented on your tweet.

I saw that.

What other reactions have you gotten?

My friends think it’s awesome. Or at least that’s what they told me. My girlfriend loves it. And my mom was excited to hear my name mentioned on The Tonight Show.

Wasn’t Jimmy Fallon kind of making fun of you?

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Ha! Yes, I get it. I get that this is not something everyone would do. I don’t take it too seriously.

Do you think you’ll regret this in a couple of years? 

No, I don’t think so. It’s too late now. I grew up on Star Wars, I’m a huge fan and I’ve always loved Yoda.

Have you heard anything from Disney? I gather they can be pretty litigious. Are you worried they might sue you?

I hope not. I mean, Mickey Mouse is a really popular tattoo. I have a Mickey Mouse on my back. Anyway, it’s too late now. They can’t take my arm away from me.

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