Tuesday, September 1, 1998

Brave new world or same old crap?

FROM THE MANAGING EDITOR

By Denise Amrich

When I got the new issue of Brave Palm "magazine" and saw the eerie cover picture of a woman in a swimsuit, as shown in Figure A, I got pretty excited. I figured I'd be reading all about the Palm III's underwater capabilities. I wondered why 3Com didn't make the underwater PalmPilot with one of those yellow rubbery kinda cases like those Kodak underwater cameras have.

FIGURE A

Can the PalmPilot swim? (click for larger image)

After diving into the catalog a bit and not finding any mention of the wireless underwater wonder, I realized that BravePalm's creators at New World Technologies, Inc. probably figured I was a guy and were trying to excite me in a different way. Apparently this was just a transparent excuse to feature a bathing beauty on the cover. I'm sure glad I didn't try to submerge my device before I figured out the facts!

A little further into the catalog I found another example of this marketing approach. Next to an article about the Delorme Map Pack and GPS Receiver, there's a picture of an oil-covered woman on a bike, in an outfit that would be very impractical for bicycling, as shown in Figure B. There's no PalmPilot bike holster, (let alone a place for these other products) and I'd hate to even try to touch my device while slathered with all that goo.

FIGURE B

Would all this goo work for you? (click for larger image)

Is there an undocumented bug that allows men to use their PalmPilots with their clothes on but requires women to disrobe before using their connected organizers? If so, I've never noticed it.

Actually, I had strong reservations about redisplaying these pictures here. I guess it's a dilemma the press often faces. Do you exacerbate an already ugly situation by repeating it? I decided to follow the example of Ms. Magazine's "No Comment" feature, in which pictures of exploitative ads are shown for what they really are--great examples of what NOT to do when advertising.

What's really going on?

As a woman, I'm (unfortunately) used to this kind of advertising. Using women's bodies to sell stuff is not a new or particularly brave marketing technique. Most of the time I just shrug it off, but not this time.