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Sexy scandals at MWC12 and CeBIT: Mixed messages rule in eventsville

March 8, 2012

By Hans Cett @HansCett

After outrage from MWC visitors last week about the Russian dancing girls on the CBOSS Stand, CBOSS is barred from MWC 2013. Now zoom into the more conservative Northern German regal city, Hannover, as CeBIT’s own organizers embrace “Security is sexy” with a pole dancing robot.

Yes. This is seriously a pole-dancing robot.

I have to laugh as the mighty GSMA bows to industry pressure to ban a telco that, according to an industry expert and long-time Congress attendee, “had actually toned down their dancing girls routine over the years”. I am far from condoning CBOSS’s marketing efforts, but the ban seems a little heavy handed, especially since parading scantily clad women on the show floor has been CBOSS’s MO at MWC for years. With that said, however, MWC needed to take action, and I’m not sure what alternative I would suggest.

Let’s dig a little deeper. Perhaps the embarrassment isn’t so much about what CBOSS did, but what was said in a high-profile British national newspaper about the incident. The original headline for Katherine Rushton and Jonathan Russell’s piece in The Daily Telegraph began “BT funded show…” A real shame, as MWC is not a BT-backed show. It is run by a trade association of which BT is a member, along with hundreds of other organizations from the operator, vendor and services space. The original headline has now been removed and a more sedate headline reads: “Trade show offered executives ‘romantic dinners’ with young Russian escorts”. All references to BT and Vodafone in the headline of the updated piece the next day have been removed, quite rightly so. But the intro to the piece still reads: “Delegates at a trade show funded by companies including Vodafone and BT…”. In a classic “light fuse and stand well back”, it also transpires that the authoress of the piece is on holiday (presumably not in Moscow!).

Anyway, it appears that sex still sells,  as long as you don’t cross the line and upset the wrong people. Maybe if CBOSS can get some cyborg gogo dancers for 2014 they’ll be allowed back to play at MWC. We’ll keep you posted.

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