Selene Yeager of Bicycling Magazine wrote an open letter to Interbike suggesting they tone down the booth bimbos at the Vegas show. She’s got a valid point and we can appreciate her preference for celebrating women as powerful and inspiring athletes.
That said, whoo-hoo! Can’t wait to get to Interbike tomorrow for the Specialized lap dance, the SRAM Pole dancing demos and the Pearl Izumi party girls. Bring it on, Vegas, raw sex, cheap and tawdry sport marketing strip show!
Just kidding Specialized — you don’t do that kinda stuff. The big boys know that kind of sizzle makes then look second rate as a company and is terrible PR for their brand. They’d annoy almost half the sales demographic.
Now we’re probably missing some truly spectacular after hours private shows in Vegas where a select few guys get an up close and personal look at a new saddle or handlebar and a naked massage from some “adult” talent. And if anybody knows where that show is, please let me know.
However, our experience after three Interbikes is that it’s really not much of a sex scene. The smart marketers steer away from the approach because it cheapens their brand. Does Giant or Felt want to look sexist? Nope, not even at a trade show.
Now, where you do see the rented girls in the hot pants and tube top is at the smaller company booths. Those niche businesses that make a bike lube, or second rate training app or obscure CNC machined part or cut rate apparel. Those people are desperate to make an impression, any impression good or bad. They might be out of business by next year so if they need to hire a part-time stripper or teen girl in a bikini to pull you in, then that’s what they’ll do.
The only other situation where companies will employ sexy girls who know nothing about bikes is if the company is Italian. Which is culturally understandable because in Italy, that’s not pandering, that’s life. Italian businessmen (and their customers) like to be surrounded by beautiful young girls. To deprive them of this birth right is an insult to Italian culture. It’s like asking a used car salesman not to use colored balloons to attract attention at the showroom. Twisted Spoke says let them showcase a babe or two. It ain’t the end of the world and for godsakes, we are in Las Vegas. Would you rather have Interbike in squeaky clean Salt Lake City? Not even Selene wants to go salty.
Now the final sex offender — and by that we mean hiring female eye-candy for no other reason that to sucker some guy into looking at dull or mediocre goods. The booths from tiny companies (and massive factories) in China have also been known to throw a few sexy girls out front. In fact, we still remember a stunning, tall woman in a black mini-dress and high heels who entranced me into looking at her display of track bikes and single speeds.
Make the rounds in the warren of tiny booths that comprise the Chinese Bike Industry section of Interbike and you’re likely to see a number of cute girls. Again, cultural norms are key here. You don’t know how to do business in China and they don’t’ always know how to conduct biz in the United States. They are just trying to make you happy. And besides, there’s a fair chance that the sexy Chinese girl is helping dad get his carbon bike gizmo sales off the ground.
So while we understand and respect Selene Yeager’s perspective on sex at Interbike, we’re all for the bimbos and lap dances. Plus, if you do want to see actual hot female bikers who killer thighs, then we go elsewhere. Like the CyclePassion calendar!