The Booth Babe Chronicles: Variations On A Booth Babe
Not all booth babes are created equal. The people you see slaving away at the auto show often have different roles and responsibilities, and sometimes different levels of knowledge. I’m often shocked when people comment here and on my blog that they spoke to a booth babe that didn’t know anything about the car because I always relate their experience to my role, which is an informational one. Most of us are there to tell you what you want and need to know, but here is what we’re all dong there.
Booth babe number one: The Pure Eye Candy
Pure eye candy is a rare occurrence at consumer auto shows in the US, or at least it was until Fiat decided they needed to bring sexy back to the Chrysler brands. These models are purely there as models. They look beautiful in their expensive outfits, stand next to the vehicles and provide great photo ops if you’re into that sort of thing (as opposed to “Hey chicky, get out of the way, you’re blocking my shot of the car.” Please don’t call her chicky, honey, baby or anything of the sort.)
Pure eye candy does not talk about the vehicle, is not trained on the vehicle and her role is not to be a source of information. She is there for the sole purpose of looking good next to the car so you’ll take a photo and hopefully post it on the internet, preferably in a Hot Babes of the Whatever City Auto Show blog post where it will become that week’s spank material for a good 70 percent of readers, go viral and garner lots of brand impressions for the manufacturer.
Booth babe number two: The Lead Generator
Companies desperately want your email address. Give them your phone number and they’ve struck gold. Mailing address, they can take it or leave it – email marketing is faster, cheaper and often more effective than mass mailings. They have to get your contact information somehow, and that’s where the lead generators come in. Want a chance to win a new car? Give me your email address. Want to win a tour of this European factory? Give me your email address. Want a simple brochure? Give me your email address. Want to design your own car? Give me your email address.
Lead generators fulfill an important role at the auto show. They provide sales leads directly to corporate and dealerships. They also help all of us booth babes keep our jobs by showing the bigwigs what kind of a return on investment they are getting from the millions of dollars they plunk down on auto show marketing, because leads turn into dealer visits which turn into sales. Every single manufacturer has some sort of lead generation program going on.
Do lead generators know about the cars? Sometimes. Not always, but often. Sometimes lead generators are temporary local hires. Sometimes they are people who normally rep other manufacturers but weren’t staffed for that show, so the agency threw them a bone and some work as a lead generator. Sometimes they know just as much as the person on the turntable.
Booth babe number three: The Product Specialist
Here it is, boys and girls: the mother lode of car knowledge. The product specialist is the end all, be all of all the news that’s fit to print on the car you’re looking at. These are the people that get the super in-depth training – in fact, these are the people who often train the dealer staff when they aren’t at the auto show. These are the people on the microphone telling you all the nifty new features, who answer your questions on the show floor and humor you as long as they can possibly stand when you want to play Stump the Booth Babe.
Product specialists pride themselves on being the epitome of the modern day auto show model: yes, we look a certain way and are dressed a certain way, but we have a depth of knowledge that booth babes of yore never had, or if they did were never allowed to discuss with visitors. Do you know what makes my day? When I see a look of total shock on a man’s face because I know the answer to some arcane automotive question or drop the name and news on an F1 driver. I love it.
Booth babe number four: The Triple Threat
Most manufacturers realized long ago that they could kill three birds (and three paychecks) with one stone and hire people who could be eye candy, lead generators and product specialists all in one. We know our cars inside out, know how to wheedle your email address and phone number out of you with a well-placed hand on your arm, and we look good doing it. Manufacturers save a boatload of money and show visitors gain a one-stop shop for all their marketing purposes.
So, my dear readers, if perchance you are at a consumer auto show here in the grand ol’ U.S. of A and the booth babe you’re talking to gets a blank look on her face when you ask her to explain the difference between an Atkinson cycle and Miller cycle engines, chances are you’re just talking to the wrong kind of booth babe. Ask for a product specialist. Not only will we tell you that a Miller cycle engine has a supercharger to make up for the loss of density caused by the smaller portion of the compression stroke dedicated to the compressing the air intake, but we’ll do it with a beautiful smile in a pair of amazing shoes. And no, you’re not getting pictures of the shoes, Pervy McPerverson.
The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com
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- Mike978 Wow 700 days even with the recent car shortages.
Yep, Booth Babe and srogers missed my point so completely it looks deliberate (et tu, Bertel? Schade...). Newcarscostalot kind of almost understood it a little. Booth Babe, aside from your use of the term "booth babe" costing you all reasonable grounds for carping about the terms "honey", "chicky", and so on, what you're doing is hypocritical. You've described a category of booth babe whose only job is to stand there and look sexy -- to arouse (ahem) the reptile brain of heterosexual males and attract them to the general vicinity of a car. These "pure eye candy" booth babes are hired sex objects; you freely admit this. That being so, you simply have no room to complain when they're treated as sex objects. That will entail catcalls of "chicky-poo", "honey", and the like from the less-thoughtful, less-well-behaved amongst a crowd of car show attendees. Don't like it? Then work to end the craven use of knownothing booth babes qua sex objects to sell cars.
Booth Babe, I hope you will pass this along to other Booth Babes. Presenting oneself as professional and With knowledge of the product is perceived as respectable. No one can refer to you in a rude manner if you dress well and your conduct is beyond reproach. THIS IS KEY!! My fiancé and I were at the Auto Show in Austin, Tx this past weekend. This is a great way to really look and compare a large number of vehicles in a short span of time. We each own a Lexus, and eagerly headed over to view what was new. While my fiancé was closing the hood on the car we were looking at, the female Lexus Representative came swanking over to present herself (not the car). While her attire was professional, her demeanor was not. I was shocked at her behavior right down to her finale of bending over to touch her toes to display her assets. Needless to say, what she was showing was a true picture of what she was. In my eyes, she left bad marks all over Lexus. I can not believe Lexus would want a person of this caliber representing their product. It looks bad and leaves one with a "cheap" feel surrounding the car.