Cameras went wild as a woman with perfectly tousled hair strutted down the runway. She paused, struck a pose and smiled as the lenses snapped away. Yes, she was a model. No we were not at Fashion Week, and yes, she was holding a portable printer in one hand. This was Ingram Micro's expotech and I was watching, from what I was told, a technology showcase.
I never did catch the name of the printer. That was mainly because I was too distracted by her low-cut blouse and minimalist short shorts. I’m not sure if anyone else did either.
From the sexy nurses promoting NetRegistry at CeBIT to the promo girls demonstrating products in skimpy outfits at Ingram's expotech, sexing up technology seems to be all the rage. Even MSI recently hired the gorgeous Miss Universe Australia, Laura Dundovic, to promote its new laptops at a launch event.
What next? Paris Hilton selling servers? That’s hot.
ICT is an indisputably male-dominated industry so it is easy to assume what motives promoters have when they employ scantily clad women to flog their products. But it’s a little insulting to think the majority of ICT men are voyeuristic beings who will only pay attention if an attractive female is within the immediate vicinity.
I also think this type of marketing has the potential to backfire. Having to divert attention from a product with something aesthetically pleasing can suggest the product itself has nothing going for it. If it is that brilliant and efficacious, then it should be able to sell itself.
At a recent Panasonic product launch, I watched as a swarm of ‘hired help’ entertained guests. Armed with skin tight mini-dresses and high heel boots, they dispersed around the room. One of them approached a male colleague of mine. This was the conversation that transpired:
Girl: Hey there! Have you seen this Panasonic camcorder? Isn’t it beautiful?
Colleague: It sure is.
Girl: And look at the zoom. Wow, the quality is so good, isn’t it? I’ve never had a camcorder as good as this one! (Giggles)
Yes, I love it when a girl talks tech-y. But was there really a need to fabricate flirtatious small talk just to advertise the device? And frankly, I didn’t find the zoom all that compelling.
Maybe I have missed the point because I am a female myself. But going by the principle that ‘sexy’ has no direct correlation to cars, music and vegetables, ‘sexy’ also has nothing to do with technology.
Megan Fox is sexy. A NAS device is not. And it doesn’t need to be, so long as it does the job.
When it comes down to it, would you by a dodgy server even if Paris Hilton was dancing around it?