A CES Product Ad That Backfired

Electronics have become invaluable in our daily lives. From cell phones, GPS’ and tablets, we choose and purchase what best fits our needs and our personality. Apple products are part of our daily lives, just like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.

It’s no wonder that thousands look forward to attending CES(Consumer Electronics Show) every year, to see what’s on the horizon for geeks as well as mere mortals like me. This year’s CES did not disappoint when it came to cool new gadgets like the uChair(keyboard built into a recliner) or The Pebble Watch (a smart watch that syncs to phones and has capability to run apps), as well as the IPotty for the IPad (toilet training) and the unusual, HapiFork (utensil vibrates to alert the person to pause while eating).

With all these new gadgets that fascinate us, it’s not hard to be lured to see what’s next for Apple, or Sony, but what happens when a product ad that was meant to draw customers actually backfires? The ad in question sent an email to a journalist with this tag: “Come Play With My V-Spot”. When I first read the article regarding this, I thought it was a joke. Upon reading more about it, the journalist was sent this email with content that included pictures of long legs in high heels and a woman’s half-open highly glossed mouth with the caption “Because Oral is Better”. The email was sent to invite her to stop by their booth and check out their products, which are voice-enabled electronics.

While this voice control company (VoCo) may have meant for this email to be a playful way to entice prospective consumers, it missed its mark completely with women. Yes, marketing one’s products must be unique to attract customers, but where does a company draw the line between marketing and pandering to sex? It’s bad enough that the ads only show women’s body parts, but to think that this would attract women consumers to check out their product is a farce.

Prior to receiving this email, the journalist initially intended to write an article pointing out the lack of women’s leadership in technology, but instead wrote why this was, as evidenced by this company’s example. While I do think that women are surely becoming a presence in technology as leaders, I can understand her sentiments. Yes, sex sells, but is it necessary to objectify women? If their intent was to “play” on men, then their intent was right on, but I don’t think women will be as “playful” nor as quick to check out or buy their products unless they do away with the images and tag lines. Will they do away with them? Doubtful, since the goal is attract customers any way they can. It’s a shame since women are just as likely to buy these products, but not from a company whose ads portray women as sex objects. That’s my take on this, what’s yours?

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