I go to a lot of conventions and I have started to see a startling number of females in attendance recently. Now, geek chic and geek power in the female population is growing so I do welcome them into the convention. No, my problem is really with the half naked “booth babes” who always get in the way of the products that you want to see and when questioned, have no idea what is going on.
CES is held in Las Vegas every year, so there is some expectation of scantily-clad girls to be in attendance. The problem is that, this is the Consumer Electronics Show. Where companies gather together and show off their new and improved electronics, trying to show the public how much the electronics industry is growing every year. When the product is good, people will hoard around, wait in lines and hope to take a gander at the amazing developments.
For example, when I went into the Samsung booth for a booth tour, there were no booth babes. The only women there were working as PR for Samsung and were rather well trained on the specs of most of Samsung’s products. Then I walk over to some of the lesser known booths and see girls dressed to the nines, standing around and just smiling all day. You can easily recognize them because not only are they way too overly dressed to be at the convention, but they are wearing mile high stilettos that no female would wear to a convention to walk around in for eight hours.
Booth babes are supposed to attract the attention of the visitors and give the public a little bit of eye candy, but I don’t really find them attractive. Sure, they look like they work hard in being the ideal body type, but with the layers upon layers of make-up on; it’s pretty frightening to even look at their faces. To top it all off, they are dumb. No, I don’t mean that they are generally stupid, because I am rather sure they are smart in some aspects, but when it comes to the products they are showcasing, they rarely know what’s going on. I understand, they are models, but if you hire five models and three reps that spend most of their time flirting with the models, you miss out on a lot of opportunity to really speak to your consumers.
I personally have no problem with attractive females who go to conventions and work them. I just wish companies would put more time into training them, rather than throw them some clothes and hire them just to smile all day. It’s frustrating, they block all the entry ways and when you ask them to direct you in the right way, they never know what’s going on. They aren’t stupid; they have the mental capacity to at least learn some of the product details your marketing team can cook up. Stop wasting all your money on paying for this “eye candy” and invest in real products people care about.
This leads me into celebrity appearances for booths. I admit, I am fascinated with celebrities. I definitely read trashy tabloids and care about who’s wearing what. It’s not that I want to be like them, I am just generally interested in people and when you spend as much time watching TV and movies as me, they feel like people you really know in a not-stalker-creepy way. Seeing a celebrity on the street passing by is exciting, even though I never actually go up to them because I think that as soon as you break that barrier, you become “that guy”. With that being said, I really hate celebrities showing up for guest appearances just so that you can get more people to come around you.
It’s actually a pretty smart marketing tactic because you are guaranteed a large crowd of people. The problem is the people you hire to crowd control are intense and no one really cares about the product they are showing off; the problem being that the product in itself is usually not that great. All the consumers care about is the celebrity they may get to meet. My example for CES this year is Justin Bieber.
I don’t particularly like Justin Bieber because I am a grown woman, but I don’t hate him because he is doing his job. Say what you want about his music, but that’s his job. Someone writes his music for him, someone styles him, and someone carefully tells him what things he should say to the public so that he will stay loved. He is a product and God’s gift to tween girls everywhere. So when I heard that he would be making a special guest appearance at TOSY for their new robot, I had to see what all the hype was about.
I got there a little late and even then, the overzealous security people were yelling and not letting people walk around the crowd or stand in areas that were clearly not in the way of incoming and outgoing traffic. There were maybe 150 people in attendance at the booth, which is nothing considering that there are at least 200,000 people who are attending CES this year. There were maybe a handful of teenage girls looking like they may pass out. The crowd was mostly grown men who were either taking a picture for their children at home, or media outlets that were covering the event. Justin Bieber had just left the stage after around 5-10 minutes of presenting TOSY’s new robot.
As I looked around, I started noticing how much security had to be allocated just to protect this one person. I also noticed that after he left, the crowd promptly dispersed and the booth was yet again empty. The robot they announced is a $199 dancing robot that seems to only be able to do one move and has a speaker on its chest. It could have been a high school science project honestly. So was it really worth it to them?
I can now only hope for the day when conventions would start to really believe in their own products and trust that they will sell themselves. No bells and whistles, no scantily clad girls, but just a great product that everyone genuinely wants to see and try out. So I beg of you giant companies that spend too much money on booth babes, please know that substance will always be better than whatever you think half naked girls are.