What It Takes To Be A Booth Babe At CES

Jan 07, 2015 at 9:08 AM ET

“You will be wearing Sleeping Beauty dress,” the Craigslist ad reads. But don’t worry: It’s “long and classy, nothing sexy.”

Every year, about 150,000 techies, brand reps and reluctant journalists gather in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a Xanax-inducing spectacle where big tech companies reveal their new gadgets and toys to the world. Naturally, every company there wants loads of attention from the (mostly male) trade-show attendees and press, and great products aren’t necessarily the answer. A better bet is to use “booth babes,” or hot women paid to showcase your wares.

Probably the best definition of a booth babe comes from, which defines the BB as “a woman who is paid to stand for hours in painful high heels and skimpy clothes by a corporate body operating under the dated notion that tech products can’t be sold without appealing to the worst elements of a perceived demographic.” If you’re curious, The Atlantic has a fantastic history of booth babes since the early 1960s. (In short: They’ve been around for a long time.)

There’s even a small cottage industry that provides the booth babes. Businesses like Models in Tech cater to companies looking for models at CES. They supply “brand ambassadors,” “product demonstrators,” “crowd gatherers” and a host of other jargony titles. But the common denominator is that the women are trained to turn heads with their long legs or short skirts. Not that these things always work out as planned: Some attendees were a bit offended by women in BDSM outfits at a recent computer conference in Vegas.

Just scrolling through the advertisements for booth babes on Craigslist offers an unvarnished look at what some tech companies think will sell their products. Here is a sampling:

WANTED: A “blond spokes model” to dress up as Sleeping Beauty for a Wi-Fi-connected mattress company. ($30/hour) 

WANTED: Two “outrageously beautiful” women to show a smartphone app. ($500/day)

WANTED: A fitness model to do squats. (Pay negotiable)

WANTED: A “reliable model with a great smile” for a phone case company. “Please, no inappropriate pics!” ($150/day)

WANTED: A fun, pretty and outgoing “friend” to be this British gentleman’s personal booth babe.