KATRINA CROSBY WRITES – It looks like the exploitation of students dressed in ‘sexy school girl’ uniforms is not the best way to market a new app, at least in China. Beijing’s Yiweide Culture and Media Company found out the hard way when it offered students of Beijing Jiaotong University dates with beauty pageant contestants.
The event began Wednesday, September 20, when contestants from Sohu.com’s Hyou 2017 Miss College competition lined up, ready for auction on the university grounds. The girls had a QR code on their skirt, allowing other students to scan it as they walked by. Contestants were placed row by row, as if they were car models on sale.
A banner located in the area read, “Hello, single guys, get a campus beauty to be your girlfriend for five minutes. Just scan the QR code and follow the instructions.” In theory, the man would scan one of the contestants, and be granted a five-minute date with her.
The university students’ reactions were found on China’s social media, Weibo. Many students threatened to take legal action against the company. BJU also released a statement claiming that, “[BJU] firmly oppose such events, and will further investigate it.” The university has yet to mention how this promotion could have been approved by campus officials. A list containing the names of the students involved has yet to be released.
The United States is anything but innocent when it comes to sexist marketing schemes, particularly at college campuses. Sexist ploys can be found across college campuses, where high school prospects are sometimes recruited by attractive staffers on campus tours. In addition, America’s beauty pageants act as a stage for commercial advertisers to be provided with worldwide exposure.
But China must learn from its Western neighbors and evolve from these sexist marketing schemes rather than follow in their footsteps.