04th December 2017

Tradeshows and Exhibitions. Should we still be using sex to sell?

Tradeshows and Exhibitions. Should we still be using sex to sell?
Women across Hollywood are coming forward to share their stories, following the accusations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. It’s becoming glaringly evident that there are few, if any industries that are free from harassment, it is important that those of us who work in tradeshows and exhibitions look at what we need to do to prevent this from happening.

We’ve been told that “sex sells” over the years. We’ve all seen deliberately underdressed women employed to drum up footfall. Do we need to do more to address a culture that sexualises women unnecessarily if you are serious about prevent harassment?

Just a few months ago UK Construction Week faced complaints that scantily-clad female showgirls were inappropriately used. They stated  that the performers were part of a larger Las Vegas – themed exhibit.

So how appropriate is using half-naked bodies at tradeshows (both male and female)? Does context mean that, in certain situations, it can be justified? Or, should using deliberately underdressed females – especially in exhibitions where majority of visitors are still likely to be male – be confined to the history books?

There are many respectable agencies that provide hosts and hostesses for stands. And hiring people to give out literature and talk to customers is still a great way to boost your exhibition presence. But at Apex, we’re keen to start a discussion to see that needs to be done – if anything – to build a more respectful industry.

We’d also like your opinion on the “why”. Does sex still sell or does using half-naked bodies have the potential to hurt your bottom line? Is this approach likely to turn people off and could it damage your brand? Are there better – and more creative – ways to attract qualified prospects to your exhibition stand and ensure that they leave with an understanding of who you agree and what you do?

We don’t claim to have all the answers, but we’re challenging ourselves, and our peers, to be brave enough to openly discuss what we need to do to create a more inclusive sector for all.

We’d love to hear your thoughts

To add your opinion to this debate Tweet us at @Apex_co_uk or add your comments via the Apex website  (feel free to post anonymously). We’ll share as many of these as we can.