Mercedes-Benz Does Away with ‘Booth Babes’ at Motor Shows in Thailand

Mercedes-Benz will instead use “Digital Guides” in an effort to end 30 years of sexual harassment, the brand said, adding that it hopes other automotive manufacturers will follow.

Mercedes-Benz has partnered with Team X Thailand to launch “The Pretty” – a groundbreaking campaign to end 30 years of harassment directed at people working in what is referred to as Thailand’s “booth babe” industry.

If you’ve been to any motor show, it’s an unmissable sight, crowds of cameras around every car that’s displayed, but most often the lenses are aimed not at the cars, but at the models standing by them.

These “booth babes”, also locally known in Thailand as the “Pretty”, have been a staple at Thailand-based motor shows for over 30 years says the campaign, which notes that “several of the women have since disclosed the dark truth that comes along with memorizing car scripts, wearing short dresses and bright red lipstick, namely verbal and physical abuse. Others have been raped, stalked, and even killed,” said a release.

 
 

With an aim to stop this abuse and present a new way forward, Mercedes-Benz announced on their screen at this year’s Bangkok International Motor Show to 1.5 million viewers that they would no longer use “Pretty” at car shows.

Instead, ‘Pretty’ will evolve into “Digital Guides”, a virtual role for both genders, eliminating sexy attire at motor shows and introducing a digital interface that “creates a safe and enjoyable environment for both male and female car presenters.”

 
 

The automaker hopes that the move will also encourage more car manufacturers to follow.

“Mercedes-Benz has supported diversity for quite a while and will continue to take greater steps in the direction that feel right to us. We have continued to endorse this topic in different aspects. In the past few years, our She’s Mercedes initiative has inspired and empowered women all over the world to discover their full potential,” said Atch Bunyaprasit, General Manager of Marketing Communications at Mercedes-Benz Thailand.

“We talked to a lot of victims in order to find the best way to convey their story and offer a solution to this issue. To eliminate the possibility of any further victims, we came up with the idea to transform the traditional physical role into a virtual one called ‘Digital Guides’, where presenters are trained to provide advice to customers virtually. Our second and third priorities were to make this job gender-neutral and to switch the sexy clothes for smart ones.”

“For years we’ve seen news stories where ‘pretty’ has been the target of sexual harassment,” said Thasorn Boonyanate, Chief Creative Officer of Team X Thailand.

“We were glad to work on this with Mercedes-Benz; this is a great step on their part, and we hope that other automakers will follow, so we can finally end 30 years of “pretty” harassment once and for all.”

The campaign has been widely covered in the Thai media, bringing greater attention to the issue.


Results to date

  • 100% earned media. Free PR value of 10 million. Featured in 85 news outlets at the value of around 10 million Thai baht.
  • 1,578,898 people saw the campaign on-site during the event.
  • 20 million impressions with 30 million engagements generated through online channels, including social media.
  • ‘The Reinvention of Pretty’ received widespread coverage from individuals and blogs, resulting in several stories about diversity that generated special mentions.
  • #NoMorePretty trended on both Twitter and Facebook.
  • This campaign sparked a new movement to remove “Pretty” from all future motor shows.
  • More than 200 pretties have applied to become a “Digital Guide”
  • 2,102 units have been booked during the event, which is the largest number among the luxury car segment. With bookings up 12.8% from last year, Mercedes-Benz is now the #1 in luxury car sales.

Case study film


Credits

Agency: Team X Thailand

Chief Creative Officer: Thasorn Boonyanate
Associate Creative Director: Annop Khunwong
Art Director: Nattnaree Kheaw-Im
Copywriter: Panupong Nakju
Agency Producer: Yada Buachan
Business Director: Sirimanat Runghirunskul
Client Service Director: Piya Chongmankhong
Agency Editor: Kritsakorn Sawangkarn
Creative Support: Rook Floro

Production House: Dylan Films

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