Booth babes are bad for business


Anyone else find it just as (or nearly as) sexist that executives avoid booths because they have “babes” at them? I mean, what level of attractiveness are you allowed to have before executives dismiss you as un-serious?

There was an extremely depressing thread on The Verge about booth babes the other day.

Honestly, I don’t see the appeal of interacting with (or just staring at, more likely) pretty girls in skimpy costumes who are only giving you the time of day because they’re paid to. Just go to a strip club or a brothel and be done with it. The only people I’d want to talk to at a trade show would be the subject matter experts.


No, the adjectives I think of are: mature, professional, progressive.


Wouldn’t the progressive thing have been that both booths were visited an equal amount of time?

(note: there were other factors in the article since the older women were apparently less “lazy” and willing to bring in people from outside the booth. I’d like to see a test of two young professionally dressed women and two older professionally dressed women honestly.)

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Why leave out the obvious fourth category - scantily-clad grannies?


Nope.Why would it matter? Part of the excuse to continue using scantily-clad women was that it was good for business. Apparently it’s not.

I guess part of my answer stems from my lack of outrage about booth babes. I don’t really care what people wear. I do prefer genitals covered though I don’t even feel I can justify that.


what about booth puppies or kittens?


Now we’ve talking a different animal (pun semi-mended).

That might work better on me.

If the booth babes were actually technically competent to talk about the product, that might get my attention – smart women are hot. Bodies? Well, I won’t pretend not to look, but I’m going about to go very far out of my way to look either.

This might have worked better during the dot-boom years, when half the industry seemed to be under-25 male geeks with no social skills.


Well, just to be polite, I put on my robe & wizard hat for you.


The article gets it wrong. I’m a straight male, I enjoy looking and I’m not turned off by booth babes. However, they’re models hired for the job and they know little of the product. Why would one bother to try to learn about the product from them? Of course a booth staffed only with booth babes was a total failure.

Booth babes serve one purpose only–to get people to stop and look. If you want them to do more than that you need other things there that will actually get them interested in the product.


We’re not talking about staff members who just happen to be attractive. It would be sexist to avoid talking to somebody qualified just because she’s attractive. “Booth babes” refers specifically to models hired to wear logos or costumes evocative of the vendor’s products, with any product knowledge completely coincidental.

If anything, the presence of a “promotional model” (as Wikipedia phrases it) says to me that the company relies on cheap marketing strategies unrelated to the quality of their products, suggesting that they are not confident in their products.


It’s a lazy, immature and ethically dubious tactic to keep a sexually objectified woman around to draw attention to a product she has nothing to do with. Do you really want to do business with some one who thinks that it’s an okay way to operate?


You are proposing a layered approach then?



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Personally, I’d find scantily clad attractive young people of either sex intimidating; but then I am old, fat and socially inept. My idea trade stand would feature no personnel at all.


Cue GoDaddy commercial…


The issue isn’t staffing a booth with attractive women. It’s emphasizing their attractiveness with sexualized attire.

For me, I find that the most effective way to compromise my judgement and autonomy as a male conference attendee is to staff the booths I visit with women who are attractive, professionally dressed, and well versed about the product or service they are selling.


Why stop there? I would totally check out a booth with a freaking llama or a sloth in it.