The days of scantily clad promo girls at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – and other mass IT fairs – could be numbered.
In the face of opposition from protestors, CES is revising its guidelines for 2014 to discourage exhibitors from using "booth babes" – although has stopped short of imposing an outright ban, according to a BBC report.
Las Vegas-based CES, which drew 3,000 exhibitors to its 2013 show last month, has been a lightning rod for protests over the use of provocatively and skimpily dressed models at IT shows. But any changes in policy there will be watched closely by the organisers of the big extravaganzas on this side of the pond, including Infosec and Cebit.
Forbes journalist Connie Guglielmo is among those calling for an end to the practice, which many regard as an unwelcome throwback to the 1990s.
"I am not against spokesmodels," Guglielmo wrote in an article last month.
"Hire all the pretty people you want. Just dress them as though they actually work at your company."
In its 2014 guidelines, CES' organisers, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), has warned exhibitors that the use of girls in hotpants and high heels might reflect poorly on them and urges them to give "thoughtful consideration" on the subject, according to the BBC report.
But a CEA representative claimed a ban would be unenforceable and would "inch our event towards a Talibanesque ban on exposure of the skin".
"Mandating a dress code of business casual for 150,000 people or even for the subset of 51,000 exhibitor personnel, as some suggest, would mean banning blue jeans, T-shirts and other common apparel while also trampling on freedom of expression," said CEA senior vice president of events Karen Chupka.
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