It appears my comments on Tiger Woods and the surrounding brand implications spurred some response in emails directly to me. The responses have kept my mind focused on branding and how everything we do as a company has brand ramifications. With tradeshow season quickly approaching, a major focus with our clients is planning promotions and booth displays. Inevitably, someone throws out the idea to hire “booth babes.” (Their term. Not mine.) Most of the time, I sense they do it to get an argument out of me. Yes, I speak my mind. After all, that’s what clients hire us to do – consult. Therefore, when it comes to “booth babes” or scantily clad women in marketing materials, most clients know they will face an argument with me… And that’s half the fun for them.
There are several reasons booth models are hired for tradeshows. Their purpose may be to hand out literature, to draw people into the booth, or even to serve as translators with international attendees. In the equipment industry, there is a perception among many that scantily clad women in ads or in booths would be a huge hit. I personally don’t buy into that stereotype. But, even if I did, the larger issue of branding remains.
Again, a company’s choice to use “physical sizzle” to sell is a reflection on the company and the brand. For some brands, it might work. But, for the majority of brands I encounter, using such tactics proves to be a real disconnect with the brand image. In addition, having provocatively dressed models in your booth to attract men is likely to attract the wrong men. Namely, men who are not seriously interested in purchasing your products. In addition, more and more women are holding high-level positions in companies or are working closely with their husbands in a family-owned business. This marketing tactic is highly unlikely to attract their favor.
Whether it’s in print ads, television or at shows, my opinion is the message and the brand image must be the paramount consideration.
How do you feel? Has your company used booth models? Was it successful? How did the booth models tie into your overall message or campaign? How did they align with your brand strategy and image?
Here’s a link to a complete article on the idea of booth models and how they may or may not fit your overall marketing strategy.