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Sigh...'cause unfortunately, "pretty girls" still help to get clicks

A long, long time ago as an 19-ish-year old undergraduate student looking for sponsorship from companies for an event we were putting on, I was wrapping up a conversation with a Marketing Head from a local software company. They were going to be a sponsor the event, and as part of that have a recruiting/marketing booth that a few students were going to volunteer at. His parting comment; he looked me straight in the eye and said "Let's make sure there are a couple of pretty girls at our booth."

I was caught by surprise, and was simultaneously annoyed (for obvious reasons) and grudgingly admiring (the man knew his audience.)

There's nothing new or even novel about this. From time immemorial, its a tactic that's been applied to most obviously to cars, guns .... basically anything that you want us guys to buy.

Internet banner advertising is all about trying to find a way to get the users attention through great copy and content/images/flash; and in a sad commentary on my gender, pictures of women remain a time-tested way to get our attention. It helps that its also ridiculously easy for the advertiser. Grab a stock photo somewhere, and you're good to go.

I've seen this popup all over Facebook Ads for a while now, but I thought the Flextronics Android developer ads below are the start of even recruiters getting on a hill with a very slippery slope. The Flextronics Ad is kinda ok; not inappropriate and while the photograph is irrelevant its within the bounds. You could argue its wouldn't be different if they'd used say an equally irrelevant picture (e.g. stunning high-res shot of the Grand Canyon etc...which I've also seen done.)

But as advertisers compete to distract eyeballs that are reading their facebook stream , I'm betting its just a matter of time before we see more recruiters/marketers throw up an Evony style banner ads (very risque) for even more product/services.

Its going to make ad conversion metrics and quality signals a little more interesting, and add one more variable for folks to plan/control for.

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