Booth Babes / Gold Coast Meter Maids at Tech-Ed

For those of you that are not technology-based, there was a very very very small group of people at Tech-Ed that objected to the use of Gold Coast Meter Maids for a promotional activity at the opening night.

When I think of Marketing, I think:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What are my key messages?
  • How can I get my message received by my target audience?

When you look at Tech-Ed, you have the majority of the attendees (including me, when I used to go) that are:

  • Male
  • Technology-aware
  • Key Influencers in the buying cycle (a few are even decision-makers and have budgets)
  • Are about as likely to meet one of these type of ladies in a social situation as they are to get Lara Croft to come to life and leap out of the poster that’s blu-tacked on their bedroom wall

The opportunity for the “Target Audience” to take something that has been touched by a “Booth Babe” and keep it might just be the missing link the vendor needs to close the next deal or open the next opportunity.

Now for all of the PC people out there…

  • If there was no demand for this type of marketing strategy, it would stop
  • If these ladies did not want to be objectified, they could <gasp> not apply for the job!!!
  • If someone found the presence of women in uniform distasteful they could
    • choose to look away,
    • attend another exhibit, or
    • boycott the vendor’s product altogether.

Nobody is forcing the attendees of Tech-Ed to go to a strip club (where – I agree – Women are objectified). Nobody is forcing attendees to talk to these booth attendants. And it’s much nicer to talk to someone who is nice to look at than be worried the boil on their neck is going to explode all over you.

What’s funny is that nobody complained about the exceptionally attractive ladies wearing a small amount of purple spandex advertising RSVP in the City2Surf this year. Now, reality will tell you that they are PAID TO BE THERE because the are GOOD LOOKING and represent the kind of person whom singles HOPE TO MEET ON RSVP (Booth Babes, but without the “booth”). I can’t see how any of them would actually use the service – they’d have no problems getting a date – and it was a pleasant distraction (for the runners) to an otherwise boring warm-up and run.

Same thing goes for Hooters – if you don’t want to go there, don’t! Their ribs are awesome though and their chicken wings… really, if you have not been you are missing out.

This guy has taken his objections too far, as has this person and this person. It’s like Lolly-free checkout aisles for parents who cannot control their kids (and so they force Woolworths & Coles to do their parenting for them).

These people had the right idea – all in good humour

Tech-Ed Australia is at the Gold Coast. “Meter Maids” and the associated uniforms are also a staple part of the Gold Coast. Perhaps Microsoft could have looked at the reaction the NetRegistry Nurses (who were fully covered) got and thought “There might be PR problems with this” but was anyone hurt? Nope. Have the Politically Correct people ensured next year’s Tech-Ed will be boring as between sessions or at the opening party? Yep.

[Update: 13/9/2010] – Hello Ladies. I didn’t miss out after all… and it was my wife’s idea to get the photo taken!

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About Brad Saide

I'm a SharePoint consultant. I'm also slowly going bald, seem to have a permanent spare tyre around my waist and enjoy socialising with friends over a beer or 10. The last 2 may possibly be related. Started working with SharePoint when the first version was in limited beta release (participated in the Technology Adoption Program while at Woolworths) and have been committed to the adoption of the technology as a business enabler ever since.
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