by Imran Siddiquee
Yesterday Jolie O’Dell at VentureBeat called out VOCO, a voice-control company, for these objectifying and degrading advertisements (see the other below), featured in an e-mail, meant to attract her to their booth during the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas. Needless to say they need to re-think their marketing strategy.
Voco, I regret to inform you that I will be unable to visit your CES booth this year. I moreover regret that I will never review, recommend, or use your products, no matter how interesting and innovative they are. I most deeply regret that you don’t have enough respect for me to put yourself on my level and look at the world and your ads through my or anyone else’s eyes.
O’Dell also explains why this kind of offensive and problematic advertising has particularly harmful consequences for the tech community:
Guys, this is why we don’t have more women in tech: It’s a cesspool. As long as we’re passing offensive schlock like this off as marketing for a major technology conference, we don’t deserve more women in tech.
Voco calls these ads “playful.” Maybe “playful” is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe the beholder doesn’t think of women’s body parts as playthings. Maybe that kind of play isn’t in any way related to voice-control technology or consumer electronics — you know, the kind that aren’t sold at Babeland.
Or maybe they just pitched a journalist who isn’t in the mood to play those pubescent, sniggering games anymore.
Check out her excellent full blog and call-to-action here, and if you, like us, are tired of these lazy, demeaning and ultimately harmful attempts at technology marketing, let VOCO know that you’re #NotBuyingIt on Twitter:
UPDATE: Dirk Marketing, the company behind the actual creation of the ads for VOCO, are on Facebook here. Feel free to let them know how you feel as well!
UPDATE 2: VOCO has begun deleting user comments and blocking some from commenting on their Facebook page. We were able to capture some of those comments before they were deleted. Keep up the pressure!
UPDATE 3: Now they’ve deleted their Facebook page altogether. Well done! Let’s hope this means they might consider changing their marketing strategies in the near future.
In any case, folks are maintaining the pressure on Twitter!
UPDATE 4:The VOCO Facebook page is back up now, with most of the negative comments removed. We’ve also heard back from Dirk Marketing, the agency behind the creation of the ad campaign, and look forward to discussing next steps with them.
Imran is the Social Media and Communications Director at MissRepresentation.org. Follow him on Twitter @imransiddiquee