We here at Lazygamer appreciate the fine female form, though that could perhaps be construed as being sexist, a holdover of the sleazy “sex sells” marketing mantra. That entire ethos is still used very much alive in marketing today, especially at trade shows and conventions through the possibly exploitative use of Booth Babes. Do they even work though?
Once a staple of gaming conventions like E3 and Gamescom and Computex, I’ve noticed a rather sharp decline in the prevalence of the Booth Babe in recent years (they seem to increasingly be replaced by booth zombies). Other shows, like PAX, banned them years ago to make the show-going experience a little more inclusive and less sexually charged. You might be seeing even fewer of them, because they don’t really work.
Spenser Chan, the head of marketing and growth at tech company Frontback actually put it to the test (Techcrunch, via Kotaku), by having two booths at a trade show; one manned by skimpily dressed Booth Babes and another by "show contractors that knew the local area and had established people skills," who Chan labelled as “Grandmothers.”
According to Chan, the results spoke for themselves; the ‘booth babes’ generated a third of the foot traffic compared to the ‘Grandmothers’. Of course, it’s hardly any sort of scientific study, but in my own experiences I find Booth Babes – especially when it comes to gaming shows – to be wholly ineffective, to the point where it generates negative interest in a product. I’d much rather have a chat with somebody who knows and cares about the product they’re trying to get me interested in, rather than some lovely young lass who’s trying to kick-start a modelling career.
Here’s what Chan said about Booth Babes.
Booth babes are intimidating. Instead of drawing people in, booth babes actually give guys who attend tech conferences some anxiety and pause for engaging in conversation. Even booth babes themselves have said this. I think it’s just human nature for guys to be a little nervous around hot girls. The ones that had no trouble engaging our booth babes were always the overconfident weirdos.
As a social pariah, I tend to agree. Chan then goes on to call Booth Babes lazy, which I think is a little unfair and counterproductive to his argument. that said, I really do think Booth Babes are a terrible marketing tool; they’re nice to look at, sure, but they don’t make me care about, or even notice a particular product any more.
What do you think? Do Booth Babes get you more interested in the products they’re shilling?