Sex Sells … Web Hosting
(mt) Media Temple is regarded as an upscale and professional web host. The design-centric company prides itself on its professional and quality clients. To most and for most, the company represents what a quality web host should be.
Recently, though, some believe that the company has begun to push their reputation as a professional web hosting provider and have delved into the realm of degrading themselves, and women. The ad below was run by (mt) Media Temple in The Web Host Industry Review‘s January 2008 issue.
The picture features the (mt) Media Temple logo stamped or Photoshop’ed onto a woman’s breast. Besides the company name and URL, the only text on the ad says “Serious support,” which is most likely a reference to the woman’s shirt.
The picture has caused some to question Media Temple’s strategy in marketing themselves as a professional and mature web host. This seems to go against their brand and what they seem to believe in (sophisticated design and copy writing). It looks like the woman is about to scream profanities at the photographer and/or is completely intoxicated. The photo doesn’t look professionally shot – it was probably taken in a club or busy bar with a consumer camera. You can’t see anything above the woman’s mouth, so it’s very difficult to tell who she is.
It’s no secret that the web hosting industry is inhabited by more men than women, but some believe that Media Temple is going well beyond the boundaries of racy ads established by GoDaddy. Does the ad make the web hosting industry look chauvinist? What will women web hosting industry professionals and customers say about the ad? Is this ad totally disrespectful to them and to women in general? What affect, if any, does the ad have on the Media Temple brand?