Is the Motorcycle Spokesmodel a Necessary Evil?

Is the Motorcycle Spokesmodel a Necessary Evil?

During our visit to the bike show over the weekend, we saw a lot of beautiful spokesmodel types representing different manufacturers and vendors. Some just stood around looking sexy and others… well, they were apparently coached to speak to people.

I witnessed one particular exchange that was completely cringe-worthy. When asked questions about the bikes on display the young lady must have been recalling what she memorized on the cab ride over. It was apparent that she didn’t really know anything about the motorcycles she was standing amongst.

“Wow, what’s the top speed on that?”

“Um…  like… 100 maybe?”

Oh, brother. Well, are you asking or telling? 

As a woman, I am more impressed by other women who kick some ass. Women who are out there doing something. Women who are out there adventuring, wrenching and you know… RIDING! Doing the thing that this show was about. Those are the types of broads who give me something to aspire to, give me courage and lead by example. That’s what I identify with.

My question is this: Wouldn’t you rather speak to someone who REALLY knows about the bikes and isn’t just there to look beautiful?

35 Replies to “Is the Motorcycle Spokesmodel a Necessary Evil?”

  1. I have to say that having read a number of your posts, I find myself enjoying your work. Being a man I was a little put off by the whole FuzzyGalore thing at first but am glad that I read on. I agree with you on this point. Brainless salespeople of either gender have always been one of my pet peeves. I would much rather go to a show and have Laura Klock, Jody Perewitz or Athena Ransom answering my questions then the latest reject from the Kardashian school of wannabees. I’m not saying that Klock, Perewitz and Ransom aren’t attractive women, I’m just saying that their knowledge supersedes their looks in this instance and that’s how it should be. Keep up the quality writing, it’s getting harder to find everyday.

    1. Hi Ed-
      I’m glad you chose to stick around, and thank you 🙂

      I’m kind of wondering if you and the other folks who have taken the time to comment are in the minority or maybe it’s just become the “norm” so no one bothers to think about it much? Or is it more like… who really cares, its hot chicks and who doesn’t like to look at them?

  2. LOL Of course we like to speak to anyone male or female who has our same interests. I’m also not going to ask the models at the show, motorcycle related questions. My conversations with someone who’s shorts look like they were painted on doesn’t go beyond, Tickle your ass with a feather? WHAT! I said, We’re having particularly nice weather?

    1. The bad part is – sometimes they slap a blazer on one of these knobs and stand them there with informational cards or handouts. So it really isn’t out of the realm of possibility that this is a person you should speak to.

      I sound like sour grapes, don’t i?

  3. Unfortunately it might be a necessary evil to garner attention to the bikes. I don’t really understand it too much myself because if I go i’m there for the bikes. I already have an idea of what will be there for each manufacturer and what I want to drool over. And I find that the lack of knowledge isn’t just in the spokes model. Last year I talked to a legitimate Kawasaki sales rep from a dealer who swore the BMW S1000RR was at least 5k more then the new ZX10R. When I pulled up the MSRP on my phone and showed him and the guy he was pushing the ZX10R on they were both in shock. I’m all for selling your bikes and touting how great they are but don’t spout misinformation about other brands.

    I’m sorry I got really off topic there. I for one would prefer to talk to someone who knows their stuff. Ducati does it right they have the real sales people from local dealers on the floor and the spokesmodels in the show.

  4. As a man, I find the whole thing insulting but I have to assume it’s like misleading advertising, companies do it because it seems to work.

    For the record, I also think the food at Hooters sucks and the experience is kind of bizarre so I may not be your bellwether here..

      1. LOL, I am annoyed by the assumption that an attractive woman is all that is takes to build someone’s brand with me.

        I bristle at the notion, actually. When I was a department manager years ago, a vendor kept sending uninformed, but attractive women in to see me. Each one just assumed they had the business because they showed up and were, well, pretty damned hot. THAT pissed me off. When I called the vendor in question to “fire” them, the person on the other line was incredulous. *shrug*

  5. I don’t know – there were absolutely *no* booth babes at the DC IMS, and there was a lot of commotion and attention being paid to the bikes. Necessary evil? Surely not.

    The Long Beach and NY IMSs do this, just like the big Euro bike shows. It gets the people who don’t ride interested in the show. What’s that good for? More newbie riders on ZX-14s and higher insurance premiums.

    Pass that bowl of sour grapes!

    1. For the DC show, Ducati had two working between sitting on the Diavel looking pretty and talking to people near the Multistrada and Monster; Panigale was covered by two guys. Harley had girls, Triumph had girls, NoMar had A girl, the single Motus bike had two young girls in tight pants straddling the bike…I’d be harder pressed to find a booth that didn’t have girls at the DC show. 😉

      Doesn’t matter what show you go to. Bike, boat, cars and guns…you’ll find attractive ladies to stand amongst the items people actually paid to come see. I would never go to them for information though, male or female. The manufacturer website will always give me the most accurate information on the specifics of the bikes. Anything beyond that enters the realm of opinion, no?

      It’s easy enough to tune them out if need be and enjoy the bikes. Its not like they are going to come up and start a conversation.

      1. Now that you mention it, I do remember the No Mar girl. Ducati was so swarmed I didn’t even bother. Motus brought models too? I definitely missed that…

        Well, I guess it’s clear how effective these booth babes are on me!

      2. >>.The manufacturer website will always give me the most accurate information on the specifics of the bikes. Anything beyond that enters the realm of opinion, no?<< Agreed. Which begs the questions - what's the point? Are they just like wallpaper? On Friday I went to the press event in the morning before the show opened. Ducati put on a fashion show during that time. It was a mix of male and female models strutting their stuff around the Panigale. During that show I saw the thinnest woman I have ever seen in person. She looked so much like the black leather chick that hung out with Zod in Superman II. Okay, off on a tangent there - but the whole premise of the fashion show was... weird. I get that they were wearing Ducati clothing but... then what happens? Does that actually motivate someone to buy? Isn't it kind of like preaching to the choir? I felt a strange sense of almost being embarrassed while watching the show. Do you know what I mean?

  6. It’s just plain silly.

    I understand why they employ the attractive ladies, but surely there are attractive ladies that ride and would be willing to promote their favorite brand at a show. I know if my Dealer asked me I’d be delighted to “spokesmodel” for them!

  7. Fuzzy,

    I was just at a bike show and I honestly this sort of thing bothers me, I actually find it disgusting that these young 20 something girls are scantilly dressed and you can see everything. This is ridiculous – outdated and if anything it makes me NOT want to buy a product from the company. 2 girls in particular were in teeny tiny bikinis and as a mother I was completely embarrassed for them and I never did go into that booth because I didn’t want to have to manoeuvre around them. I felt like giving each girl a coat to cover up in and telling them to go home. This has no place in motorcycling, particularly with women becoming an ever larger segment of the riding population. How are women motorcyclists going to ever be respected with neanderthal attitudes like that? Maybe I am old fashioned, but sex and smut don’t sell bikes, a good quality machine and reputation sell bikes. Sour grapes perhaps, but crap like this needs to change. The booths were busy enough that they didn’t need the ahem *models*

    1. I can’t fault the girls for trying to make a living. But, what’s the point?

      Based on pretty much everyone who has posted a comment here – they are just like background noise. They don’t motivate people to buy anything. They don’t know anything. Would the show experience be diminished if they weren’t there? Not for me. ::shrug::

      I know what you mean about the mom thing. I once went to a peep show with Kenny. you know, for research purposes.
      He warned me beforehand…
      I walked out feeling completely bummed for the girl. Like, I wanted to “save” her. It was depressing to watch someone go through the motions of pretending when clearly their heart wasn’t in it. I kind of look at the models the same way, though maybe not to the same degree.

      Faking it doesn’t do anything for me.

  8. The 19 YO with bulging cleavage, skimpy shorts and a handful of brocures is obviously not the person you ask technical questions.

    I did enjoy talking with Liz Jansen, Melissa Holbrook Pierson, a woman at the MSF booth who trains instructors, the female Americade volunteer coordinator, a women promoting the Unadilla MX track events, a rep for Gerbing electrics and other females at the NY show on Saturday.

    I had no problem determining who to ask my questions, including small talk with some of the scantily clad.

    In describing my day at the show to my wife, I even commented on how many knowledgable women I encountered at the show.

      1. “Just ogle, right?” – Yes. That’s my point. It’s not difficult to tell who you should ask technical questions.

        TOADMAMA -I’m available to work your garden show.

        1. Ooooooh, I see. So you’re saying the really hot chick can’t POSSIBLY know anything about the bikes? 😉 😆

          I’m just messin’ with you, Keith. I totally get what you’re saying. If you see a thought cloud with a flickering fluorescent light above the model’s head… just look, don’t talk. 🙂

          I think you should dress like a gladiator for the flower show 🙂

  9. I understand your point (its validity is obvious) and I share your frustration and annoyance at this.

    The source of the problem, I believe is that most middle-aged male executives (in virtually every industry) subscribe to the common notion that traditional displays of sex are effective in sales. As you note, in some areas (like ours), it’s a counterproductive tactic since we care more about substance than pulchritude.

    1. I guess to me the sex angle seems even less of importance considering you’re in a venue that has you as a captive audience.

      If you can’t get the people who ponied up $20 to come in and look around & buy because they really dig what you’re selling – a pair of knockers isn’t going to do it either!

  10. Wouldn’t it be fun to host a huge garden show, craft fair, or some other event that attracts mainly women and put super-hot, scantily clad guys in all the booths? Just to see how all of the men react? 🙂

  11. I am also a no-skimpy-girl kind of motorcycle show viewer. I honestly don’t believe that the skimpy ladies are supposed to get people who wouldn’t normally look at your bikes into the booth. seriously – the show is kind of expensive to go to if you just want to look at some T&A. there are WAY cheaper options in NYC. it’s just status quo at this point!

    PLUS a major pet peeve is when the body gets in the way of the bike. I want to see the MOTORCYCLE! not the boobs!

  12. the comments on this post are nearly better than the post! the people getting in the way of bikes is very annoying when I’m trying to take photos. I’d prefer if they just had real riders to talk about bikes. Mpls isn’t cool enough to get a press event either. *lame*

  13. Sorry Fuzz. I’ll take half naked girls wherever I go.

    As for the being necessary evils? Yes. For the idiot who wants to be “hey look at me guy” and try to impress that girl by romping down hard on the forks and twisting the bars from right to left.

    The only reason I’d be talking to one of those girls is to as her what time I I’ll be picking her up after the show to go get steaks and a nice bottle of Pinot at Smith and Wollinsky’s down the street.

    Though if there were so happen to be a girl in hot pants that did know a thing or two about that motorcycle she was so nicely sitting on, I’m sure she would have a little more swagger and a not so clueless look on her face. Also I’m sure she’d be wearing her own hot pants, not a uniform given to her that day. Wait, this might just be my dreamgirl. Did you see her there? Shit I missed her.

    (please don’t hate me)

    1. You know what, nevermind all that highminded stuff I typed before. This guy’s spot on. Except for the Pinot, not a decent Pinot to be found at a Smith and Wollinski’s

      Damn fine martinis, though 😀

  14. Here’s the thing: I don’t hang out in places that I wouldn’t want to take my wife or daughter.

    When the gals at the motorcycle shows and other events show so much skin that that line is crossed I stop attending.

    When we went to Sturgis last year we saw some very thinly covered skin. Robin was with me the whole time and believe me, it’s no fun worrying about whether you’re going to get a punch in the ribs for ogling just a bit too long, and there’s no enjoyment in something that starts generating guilt from the very first glance.

    There were gals with body paint that was so artfully done the titillation factor was almost zero as you’ve no doubt seen on one of my Sturgis articles, but I still knew that that line was getting crossed. Nobody can really explain where the line is, but we all know when it is being crossed.

    The female body is a beautiful thing, and always at its most awesome when there’s some mystery to it. It is the most effective marketing tool in history, so don’t kid yourselves about it turning away more people than it attracts. Men will be men, boys will be boys.

    Men who have found their soul mate and remained true to her in body, mind, and spirit will always be the greatest men.

    Being a red blooded son of Texas, I appreciate and admire a good looking lady whether she’s wearing a floor dusting ball room gown or an itty bitty bikini; but that’s skin deep at most, and what I have in my wife is loyalty and beauty all the way to the bone.

    No sense throwing that away or even causing it the least bit of damage by lolly-gagging at a stranger.

    Not even if it’s Linda Carter.

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