CBOSS gets busted for its 'booth babes'

The Russian software company has come under fire for offering would-be partners dates with dancers it had on its stand at Mobile World Congress.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 06 Mar 2012
This makes Ryanair’s recently-banned sexy calendar ad look like something from a CBeebies show: lonely exhibition-goers who went to last week’s Mobile World Congress were enticed to meetings with Russian telecoms software company CBOSS with the promise of ‘champagne, caviar and a beautiful girl’.

Apparently, having been lured to the organisation’s stand by a troupe of scantily-clad dancers, prospective business partners were then told: ‘We have no doubt that the champagne, caviar and beautiful girl conducting a vis-à-vis interview are sure to raise the most correct wording of your thoughts from the depths of the subconscious.’ It added that ‘personal preferences of both interviewer and interviewee will be accommodated.’ As one tweeter put it: ‘VOM’.

The slightly embarrassing part is that UK telecoms giants like BT and Vodafone are sponsors of the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association, which organises MWC. Although, obviously, spokespeople from both firms expressed their shock and disgust at the news. ‘If accurate, then this kind of practice is clearly unacceptable,’ spluttered someone from Vodafone.

Of course, this isn’t the first time companies have got into trouble for chauvinistic behaviour at trade shows. At Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show, another big event in the technology calendar, dozens of firms came under fire for their use of ‘booth babes’ to entice prospective customers. Although they weren’t universally popular: at the time, Blottr founder Adam Baker dismissed them as ‘totally early 90s cool. I’m surprised they’re still used’.

GSMA, though, clearly agrees: CBOSS has now been banned from next year’s event.

If reading about it hasn’t cringed you out enough, here’s a video of CBOSS’ dancers in action:

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

There's opportunity in this recession

A Schumpeterian view of closing businesses.

Is it okay to spy on my staff if I think they're slacking ...

Everything you wanted to know about employee surveillance but were afraid to ask.

The psychology of remote working

In depth: The lockdown has proven that we can make working from home work, but...

A simple cure for impostor syndrome

Opinion: It's time to stop hero-worshipping and start figuring out what greatness looks like to...

I was hired to fix Uber’s toxic culture - and I did. Here’s ...

Harvard’s Frances Frei reveals how you know when your values have gone rotten, and what...

Social responsibility may no longer be a choice

Editorial: Having securitised businesses’ loans and paid their wage bills, it’s not inconceivable the government...