The Reason You May Be Noticing More Duke's Mayonnaise Tattoos

When you think about your first love and how might you communicate it through body art, what do you think of? Dolphins? Dragons? (both very popular choices, notes Pop Sugar!) What about Duke's?

We don't mean the dukes up Fighting Irish tattoo you may already know and love. We're talking Duke's mayonnaise. Not ringing a bell? Maybe you're geographically challenged: Duke's mayo reigns supreme south of the Mason Dixon line (per Southern Living), but is less familiar and can be harder to come by in the northern part of the U.S.

But if an immediate visual doesn't come to mind, that may change soon. A tattoo parlor recently made an extraordinary offer to its patrons near and far: Yellow Bird in Richmond, Virginia teamed up with Duke's to provide free tattoos on a limited first-come, first-serve basis (per Vice). There were over forty different images available, but there was one catch: they were all images of Duke's mayonnaise.

That was no deterrent, however: Yellow Bird even had to hire extra staff to keep up with callers trying to get a spot in line (via Food and Wine). Someone even flew in to take advantage of the opportunity. Within an hour of announcing the May 13th event, dozens of people had filled up all the available free-tattoo slots, and they had a thousand-name waitlist to boot. 

It's not just a mayonnaise, it's a lifestyle

In case the world of mayo fandom is throwing you for a loop, it's not so surprising to the folks over at Duke's, who've seen it all. As brand manager Rebecca Lupesco put it, "We're a passion brand. We're a cult brand," (per WTVR News). In addition to producing a great condiment, Duke's mayonnaise has become a lifestyle brand for a whole host of people, especially in Richmond, where the company is based, but also in many other places as well, including South Carolina, where the mayonnaise originated and is still produced. Duke's does do things a little differently, without sugar and with a more homemade-mayo style consistency; that spirit has ignited a deep enthusiasm and a loyal following — even an obsession.

And that loyalty runs deep. As reported by WTVR News, Duke's receives a good deal of unsolicited fan art. Lupesco notes that they "even get requests for empty Duke's jars for people to use as an urn for family members' ashes ... The jar and the brand do really well, like in this creative art space, and tattoos are just another way to, you know, bring the brand to life basically."  That might help explain the origin of one of the more dramatic tattoos available to aficionados: "Death before Hellmann's"  (per Vice).