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Skin steals the show from saree at tech fair

New Delhi, Feb. 7: With LG raising its hostess’ hemlines, the International Engineering and Technology Fair, being held here this week, has raised a sartorial storm.

LG, the white goods maker, clothed its hostesses in skimpy and frilly red outfits and got the crowds to gape and gawk at them. On the other hand, Blue Star — LG’s more conservative competitor — chose to have its maidens clad in sarees.

A quick straw poll of the people at the exhibition showed that while some consumers loved the glitz and glamour, many felt the hype and hoopla surrounding the event deflected attention from the serious business of actually buying a product.

“We are into a serious business,” says P.V. Rao, deputy general manager (sales) at Blue Star. This sort of pomp and jazz diverts the focus of the consumers who are here with an objective.”

Anshu and Geetika Anand, hostesses at Blue Star, said: “What LG is doing is nothing but a cheap marketing gimmick. All they are interested in is just attracting the crowd since they are not confident of their products.”

Geetika, however, admitted: “When LG comes up with its 10-minute song and dance show, nobody comes to our stall even though we are just adjacent. People run away to gawk at them.”

The folks at LG have a different view. “My idea is just to get more aggressive in marketing our products. Girls in skimpy outfits is not the objective of the fair,” says Bijo K. George, assistant general manager (sales and marketing) for LG air conditioners.

“My logic is to initially catch the consumers’ attention. If short skirts help draw a crowd, we don’t mind. In the last two days of this show, our company has received many more queries than we would have through a regular ad campaign.”

LG is forking out more to its hostesses for donning the skimpy outfits — Rs 1,000 a day against Blue Star’s Rs 500. “We like earning money but not by revealing,” a Blue Star hostess said.

Sakshi, one of the pretty hostesses at LG, says hesitantly: “All said and done, I do believe that having women to showcase any kind of product acts as an advantage.”

Preeti from CS Direkt Events, an event management firm and dress designer for LG, says: “Outfits represent the brand image, psychology, colour and style of the product and the catch-phrase that the brand name carries.”

“LG has a Club One image. So, we decided to dress our girls like club girls,” she adds.

Hitachi, the Japanese white goods maker, has dressed its hostesses in staid ash skirts with red collars. “These are products that one tends to associate with women. Men don’t fit in here. There are some jobs that women handle more graciously. So what’s the hassle'”

However, Michelle Cruz, a 20-year-old college student working at Hitachi, said: “Money doesn’t decide everything. We get to learn and gain a lot of exposure here. It is eventually the right product information that matters.”

She, however, confesses: “It just so happened that we got selected for the Hitachi stall. Had we got selected for LG, we would have happily worked there, too.”

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