The six most absurd booth babe moments at CES

Because nothing makes you interested in tech products like oiled buttocks. That's, like, science.

The Consumer Electronics Show, currently being held in Las Vegas, is persisting with the use of "booth babes" - models paid to drape themselves over otherwise fairly mundane updates of technology.

The BBC has a report here, which notes:

While models have been banned from technology and gaming expos in China, the US is seeing a steady growth in their use in marketing. Critics say their presence is degrading to women and contributes to the fact that so few women want to take up careers in engineering.

I'd argue that their presence is also fairly degrading to men, since the reason for their existence is the presumption that men can only be interested in new phones and tellies if they are strapped to the hotpant-clad ass of an attractive woman. Experience would suggest this is not the case.

I mean, look:

My God, Nikon, now you mention it, your camera will go exceptionally well with this couture dress and oddly nipply cupcake hat!

And that was by no means the most ridiculous booth babe moment. I only have a limited Getty pictures subscription, but a search for "CES" and "model" turned up all of these. I'm sure there are far more:

"Yeah, I'm quite interested in buying one of your mobile phone cases, but will it go with my butt? I'm very keen on accessories working with my butt."

Who could have imagined what the iShower speaker - "an easily detachable Bluetooth enabled shower speaker with complete compatability with any Bluetooth audio streaming phone, tablet or computer" - would look like without the assistance of a woman in a branded bathrobe?

Praise be! At last someone has found a way to make men interested in needlessly gigantic televisions!

Guess what this lady is selling  . . . yep, car door speakers. Which are best enjoyed in fishnet stockings.

I'm going to give the people behind the "SKINS" single-use waterphone mobile phone cover a pass, because they are essentially selling a phone condom, and therefore need all the help they can get.

 

Incidentally, many places have banned "booth babes", including the Eurogamer Expo. As their managing director wrote last year:

We’ve always had an informal guideline regarding booth babes: we don’t think they are right for the Expo. When we talk to publishers and exhibitors, we discourage them from bringing booth babes – and encourage them to bring developers.

Of course, exhibitors need to bring staff to the show, but they should be interesting, cool and exciting (Master Chief was /amazing/!) and knowledgeable (developers and publisher staff) rather than pretty girls in revealing outfits just for the sake of it. We want the show to be friendly, and all 50,000 attendees to feel comfortable.

Take your phone in the shower. But keep your towel on. Photo: Getty

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.

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I believe only Yvette Cooper has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy Corbyn

All the recent polling suggests Andy Burnham is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy Corbyn, says Diana Johnson MP.

Tom Blenkinsop MP on the New Statesman website today says he is giving his second preference to Andy Burnham as he thinks that Andy has the best chance of beating Jeremy.

This is on the basis that if Yvette goes out first all her second preferences will swing behind Andy, whereas if Andy goes out first then his second preferences, due to the broad alliance he has created behind his campaign, will all or largely switch to the other male candidate, Jeremy.

Let's take a deep breath and try and think through what will be the effect of preferential voting in the Labour leadership.

First of all, it is very difficult to know how second preferences will switch. From my telephone canvassing there is some rather interesting voting going on, but I don't accept that Tom’s analysis is correct. I have certainly picked up growing support for Yvette in recent weeks.

In fact you can argue the reverse of Tom’s analysis is true – Andy has moved further away from the centre and, as a result, his pitch to those like Tom who are supporting Liz first is now narrower. As a result, Yvette is more likely to pick up those second preferences.

Stats from the Yvette For Labour team show Yvette picking up the majority of second preferences from all candidates – from the Progress wing supporting Liz to the softer left fans of Jeremy – and Andy's supporters too. Their figures show many undecideds opting for Yvette as their first preference, as well as others choosing to switch their first preference to Yvette from one of the other candidates. It's for this reason I still believe only Yvette has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy and then to go on to win in 2020.

It's interesting that Andy has not been willing to make it clear that second preferences should go to Yvette or Liz. Yvette has been very clear that she would encourage second preferences to be for Andy or Liz.

Having watched Andy on Sky's Murnaghan show this morning, he categorically states that Labour will not get beyond first base with the electorate at a general election if we are not economically credible and that fundamentally Jeremy's economic plans do not add up. So, I am unsure why Andy is so unwilling to be clear on second preferences.

All the recent polling suggests Andy is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy. He trails fourth in London – where a huge proportion of our electorate is based.

So I would urge Tom to reflect more widely on who is best placed to provide the strongest opposition to the Tories, appeal to the widest group of voters and reach out to the communities we need to win back. I believe that this has to be Yvette.

The Newsnight focus group a few days ago showed that Yvette is best placed to win back those former Labour voters we will need in 2020.

Labour will pay a massive price if we ignore this.

Diana Johnson is the Labour MP for Hull North.