CES has started, which means junk like this is now showing up in my inbox. Hey, [REDACTED], did you put a butt in your email to remind me how shitty your products are? Because that's what I'm thinking.
And sadly, there are way more butts to come over the next few days.
CES, like many industry conventions, will be thick with "booth babes" — women paid to stand around in revealing clothing in order to draw men to the booths and see terrible products. That's regrettable. Not only because it is sexist, but also because it just makes your company look like a bunch of undersexed nimrods.
If the only way you can get people interested in your product is to have a scantily clad woman appear next to it for no apparent reason, your products are probably awful. And besides, it's boring. It's just boring. It's been done so many times, for so many years, that my only reaction to seeing a booth bunny is to think, "Here is a company that is completely out of ideas."
Look, technology industry CEOs, if you want to stick a butt in my face, I'd be way more impressed if you made it your own fat arse. Butter up that big white rump of yours and squeeze it into a little red thong. Strap those man boobs into a cheetah bra that lets your pale hairy cleavage see the light of day. Do that, and I promise you that I'll listen to your pitch. (Even if it's a little awkward for both of us!) Better yet, get the whole pasty, overpaid, C-level crew into some sexy swimwear. People will talk. You'll be the buzz.
True, this dumb email pitch does have me talking about the company that sent it. But only to the extent that it is a very dumb and indefensible thing to do, made all the more so by the company's inability to defend it. Here's what its publicist sputtered back when I asked about it.
Thanks for reaching out. This is actually approved advertising art that [REDACTED] uses to market their product which protects tablets and iPads underwater. It is somewhat risque? Perhaps ... but it was meant to depict the product's use in water as opposed to it being "shock value."
Yeah, so, if you want to depict the product's use in water, maybe you should actually depict the product's use in water. This is just a lady's arse, swimming away from an unrelated superimposed image.
You could make a solid case for an ad that showed a woman in a bikini using a waterproof iPad case in a pool. "Oh, hey, look, she's using it in a pool. I would like to use my iPad in the pool, too, because I also enjoy playing Angry Birds while swimming and looking cheesy."
This particular ad doesn't do that. It doesn't try to sell. It doesn't try to do anything clever. It just juxtaposes a gratuitous arse shot with "Five Ways to Visit, Meet or Follow [REDACTED] next week at CES!!!" And that's the booth bunny experience in a nutshell.
I would have thought that an industry that prides itself on innovation — indeed, that depends on innovation to exist — would have found a better way to get people's attention by now. Something relevant. But it hasn't.
CES is a lot of work. And we all need to blow off steam. So if I see a company using women in bikinis to sell a damn router, iPad case or USB accessory at CES this year, I'm going to have some fun with you and your horrible, horrible products. In short, I'll be up your arse like a bad thong.