Veteran Marketer Proves Booth Babes Don't Work

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While I tend to agree with his conclusion, correlation does not equal causation. Sure, he tested it numerous times over the course of 1 year, but it is going to have to be put to far more tests and studies if it is to be proven.

Then again, this is me just nitpicking. I think commonsense would dictate this to be the case, but then again, I have overestimated the human race before.

Your logic is well founded. His correlations do not indicate *any* sense of the products being marketed. If I were to staff grandmothers in French string's at the Fallout 4 booth, I would still have 10X the business than Victoria Secrete Swimsuit models trying to sell Fable 4. The products sometimes sell themselves. Other times, it could be the swag they are handing out. So claiming causality proves he is simply selling his opinion.

The thing is if we are to truly do an accurate test on the subject it would have to take the effort of A LOT of companies.

In all honestly, I think that his conclusion is probably of conventions that don't center around sexuality, and/or porn.

The only way for this to work is to have for example- Bethesda to agree to having various booths at cons. To make sure the margin of error is minimized the cons in question should preferably have around the same amount of con goers. Then you implement booth babes in some of the booths, and regular/no salespersons in other booths. From that point on it's simply a matter of not only counting how many people visited your booth, but how many of those individuals were unique (not booth visit regulars). At the end of the year Bethesda can tally up the amount of people who went the booth with hot babes, and the amount who went to the booth with no babes.

Repeat this process with a slew of other game companies with notoriously popular games

For most games, I'm fairly certain there will be an indifference. Maybe even a slight negative or positive.

However this may damage family friendly studios like Nintendo (then again I don't think the folks at Nintendo would agree to such an experiment to begin with.) afterall, image is everything.

I find the whole affair to be awkward, both for the booth babes and those they are trying to appeal to. I don't really like the idea myself, marketers thinking hot girls=sales and interest never appealed to me. Same reason I find AXE body spray and Go Daddy commercials annoying, I hate the soulless pandering.

Not sure if this study is really conclusive or definitive, but I certainly feel as though booth babes don't really add much to a marketing campaign.

Wow, a website actually published that article straight faced! Techcrucnch isn't an affiliate of The Onion is it?

The level of fail in the original article is astounding. It's practically insulting given the use of words like "test" and "results".

Spencer Chen:
I just wanted to state that if you were so inclined to take up this debate, I can offer you a sound business reason to support your opinion: Booth babes don't convert.

No Mr. Chen, no you can't. You might want to do a bit of reading on the Scientific Method before making such bold claims.

I have no problem with the booth babes themselves, since they're just doing their job, but I do frown upon any studio that chooses to use them, and I wouldn't feel comfortable representing a company professionally alongside them.

If you're going to pay people to dress up, I'd much prefer to see people dressed as characters from the games themselves. That tells me at least SOMETHING about the product.

I was at the launch party for a certain highly-praised Aliens-related smash hit last year, and there were men and women wearing badass marine costumes hanging around. They weren't there to be sexy, just create a fun atmosphere. That was probably the best part, much better than the raging migraine and all that damn noise blasting that you young people call music these days.


I avoid booth babes simply because even if I have legitimate questions regarding a product, both the "babe" and everyone else will likely think I'm talking to her for the tits. By using oversexualized marketing tactics companies create encounters with a sexual context, which is not something I (and many other people) am looking for at a convention.

Unless it's a porn convention. I'm guessing booth babes are perfectly fine at porn conventions.

Also, if I see a booth babe (i.e. scantily clad girl of well above average looks staring vacantly into the distance), I'm going to assume she knows next to nothing about the actual product. This isn't a sexist thing, I'm just aware that she's likely been hired as a booth babe and as such can't really help me with anything...

I don't really see the sense of the booth babes. Then again I am not strictly against them, as beautiful women certainly can be a pleasure to the eye.

Hell, yeah, if I saw some skimpily-dressed fine-ass ladies standing around something you can guarantee I'm not taking a step in their direction.

Girls are scary.

That's interesting. I'd like to see a more scientific experiment but those results are very interesting. Same show, same stall, different staff, triple the results. Wow.

I imagine it might be something to do with the shy/nerdy beta male being "intimidated" by the semi nude hottie staffing the stall. Whereas the kindly grandmother or same sex seller is perhaps more approachable. I don't think booth babes are sexist and I couldn't give less of a damn whether they are or aren't to be quite honest. What they are though, is pandering, almost patronising, a little insulting and quite frankly makes me question the worth of a product that needs eye candy to market it.

Many attendees find their presence intimidating and the ones they do attract "were always the overconfident weirdos." Most objections to booth babes are based on the sexism inherent in the role; perhaps Chen's observations will offer a more practical reason for doing away with them, and be more successful in making it happen.

Honestly, if a pretty girl showing some skin intimidates you from approaching a kiosk showing something you're interested in, that's YOUR hangup. They're just people, at work.

That said, these are models or otherwise attractive young women paid to look cute and be friendly. Don't take that as an invitation or sign of interest, in the same way you wouldn't bother a sexily dressed traffic director on duty. It's fine to flash a smile, say hello and be polite, but don't be a fucking clingy creep and hang around. Is it truly that hard?

This doesn't particularly surprise me. A lot of people are likely to avoid them, purely so they don't get thought of as a pervert.

Then there is the possibility that some women might find them awkward, and some heterosexual men might find them insulting, as though they need see a scantily clad woman to be gain interest in something. Which is essentially the purpose of them in the first place.

As somebody who has never attended a place that has had them, I've never been particularly bothered by the idea. But at the same time I have also never really seen the point.

I can understand having people dress up as characters, if it is from a work of fiction. Beyond that it just seems kind of juvenile.

I'll be damned if I can add to this. I'd be more likely to avoid them, even if I was interested in the booth's contents. I just don't want to be seen as someone who falls for such a simple and stupid marketing ploy that runs exclusively on the expectation that physical exposure = more sales. I hope this falls out of favor.

Sounds like this "expert researcher" has no idea what he's doing. If you bring in local experts with their connections and such, of course that is going to increase your effectiveness compared to hiring "booth babes" as generalized sales reps without any real knowledge of the product or subject matter.

The thing is though that most companies don't have any connections with people interested in doing that kind of low-end work for you in every specific area. What's more local experts will oftentimes charge a premium, far more than picking up some talent from a local modeling/talent agency.

What's more the most savvy people from big companies try and capture the best of both worlds by basically contracting company "spokesmodels" at the lower end, basically hot girls whose job it is to travel around with the product, from convention to convention. People who have been trained with that product in particular, and have probably been working out a performance/pitch ahead of time for a while.

Case in point, let's say your smaller-scale tractors and farm machinery and are trying to convince businesses to stock your machines to sell in rural areas. You could take the time to hopefully recruit local farmers from each area that will hopefully get their own connections in to take a look, that would be ideal IF you knew where to find the people and had ones who wanted to sit around on their own time pimping your product, people also probably demanding a premium. You could hire some hot girls and bank on the eye candy, but again your likely to only get a couple hours to brief them on tractors and selling tractors. Or you can hire your own models, paying as much as those local actors, brief them about everything there is to know about the tractors, and then have them take turns basically dry humping the machinery (which they will have rehearsed with dance experience) to get attention, and actually be able to answer the questions. Call it a mini-floor show.

Having sat in and around a LOT of cons for a lot of products as security, I will say that I don't think "Booth Babes" are in any danger largely because most businesses hitting these things aren't going to have the connections to get serious "local talent' to begin with (instead being there to try and break into a given area... or in many cases will be dealing with people from all over who have travelled to the con at whatever location. The idea being the con selling the glamour of a casino ballroom for example, with no guarantee there even are any experts in whatever your selling in the local area of the con, and their advantages being mitigated when they are dealing entirely with people from out of town), or want to invest in their own stable of "spokesmodels" (which is me being fairly diplomatic, at the end of the day though most companies doing the con circuit can't afford that, which is why they are doing cons to build up a clientele and spread news about their product). As a result they wind up with the option of hiring "booth babes" who are likely from a local modeling agency and at least trained to look good, speak well, etc... or just hiring regular booth attendees or using their own people (ie the guy bringing the product also mans the booth... which doesn't happen that often because he probably wants to scope the competition, play around at the con location, and try and broker what deals he can).

It's an interesting anecdote, but I think you'd need more than one such instance to do more than imply any meaningful information.

Of course, to a lot of people it's confirming what hey already believe, but....If you're really going to demonstrate it, no need to half-ass it.

Wait people actually or still think this is an effective marketing tactic?

The people who employ it and the people who defend it apparently do, so yeah, I'd say they do.

Concerning gaming events, I certainly wouldn't go to a booth just cause they had booth babes. Hell, I think it'd detract from the whole thing. It's doubtful those hired women actually play and love the game. If they did, awesome. But it's not like you could go up and ask and get a truthful response. You'd probably get a generic response and a big, fake smile. That's not what I'd wanna see at an event like this. I'd want intelligent conversation with someone who knows their shit. Gimme some flashy combat in a game or something, not flashy sexy women with big fake smiles

The only show I actually see them at is the NY Comic-Con. I don't pay them any attention simply because a hot girl dressed like Wonder Woman doesn't do anything for me. She is, after all, not actually Wonder Woman.

I've been to NYCC three times, and I don't think I ever saw a booth babe there. The closest to a booth babe was these women working at the Wipeout booth, but chances were they were just employees with big-ish boobs.

And chances are, if you're seeing an ample Wonder Woman at Comic Con, they're a cosplayer, not a booth babe.

OT: Hey, that guy in the picture has a X-Play tote bag and an N7 hoodie. Awesome!

But what about all of the sites that display galleries of said 'booth babes' after these events are over? These girls, provided they have the brand logo either in the shot, or on their clothing continue to advertise the product long after the event is over.

Sure, it's not foot traffic and completed forms, but it shouldn't be entirely discounted.

This doesn't particularly surprise me. A lot of people are likely to avoid them, purely so they don't get thought of as a pervert.

Then there is the possibility that some women might find them awkward, and some heterosexual men might find them insulting, as though they need see a scantily clad woman to be gain interest in something. Which is essentially the purpose of them in the first place.

As somebody who has never attended a place that has had them, I've never been particularly bothered by the idea. But at the same time I have also never really seen the point.

I can understand having people dress up as characters, if it is from a work of fiction. Beyond that it just seems kind of juvenile.

If only E3 would learn from this. The way that businessmen treat 'booth babes' makes me want to take a long shower to make myself feel clean again.

I would much rather talk with someone who actually know about the product, than an attractive young woman who is there to look good.

Wait people actually or still think this is an effective marketing tactic? I never go to any of these sorts of things but I've always thought of it as more of a traditional role for conventions, sort of like part of the attraction. Like go to any geek convention these days and you'll find plenty of people cosplaying, babes included. I thought they were just supposed to be part of the show, not effective salespeople.

It is still being used to market shampoo, cars, PC hardware, any kind of cosmetic, soda, candy and I'm sure the list goes on so it's still thought to be effective. I've also seen one particular picture on an article about a new laptop (Asus I think) where some of the people commented "How much for the girl" and "I'm more interested in the girl than the laptop" so there's obviously still a draw for the thing. If it's a good sales tactic is subject to debate (especially after this article), but it may be good for marketing online, but I don't know.

OT: I'm not incredibly surprised by this. A pretty face may draw more faces towards a booth, but I wouldn't buy a product unless I was talking to someone who could tell me a bit about it other than what I could read off the product description myself. Also if you're a bit socially awkward (like me) it may be hard to talk to someone you're attracted to and you may lose your nerve before you get there and you just walk away (slowly to hide a boner) in shame (exaggerating here, calm down).

Now speaking from personal experience I did check out a slideshow of booth babes a couple years ago, mainly because they were presenting a variety of new internal components that were up for release. Now for the most part I studied the new hardware more than the girls with the exception when the girls wore interesting clothing that fit with the theme.

I'm not against booth babes, nor do I hate them, I simply don't have a personal need for them to exist and I am sure they would rather be somewhere else with a different model job, sadly those jobs aren't easy to get and I pity those who end up at these kind of events because of the creepers.

Having good material and knowledgeable staff who are interested in talking about it is what you want. Anything else is kind of worthless.

In a professional setting booth babes are a toxic poison. I've been to conferences in which a misguided sponsor used booth babes and they might as well have dropped tear-gas in the room. While some folks were OK looking from afar, nobody wanted to be caught anywhere near them. Why? Cause professionals don't want to look like stupid teenagers.

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