Naughty Netregistry responds to CeBIT trade show nurse controversy
The annual Cebit trade show, Darling Harbour, has become the home of a heated debate, after Netregistry's Web Clinic caused a few vocal social commentators to find a new way to get their names in the press. Now dubbed by media as the 'naughty nurses', the stand's use of two sales girls in nurse uniforms has been dubbed sexist and offensive by up to six or seven people, across IT and mainstream media - it is believed up to half of these seven people have actually visited the stand.
CEO, Larry Bloch, explains the imagery that has now been taken out of context in the majority of discussion.
"I think the IT world has always had a strange divide, between brand and consumer, when it comes to marketing - it's supposedly the forefront of society, yet it seems stuck in a very dull 90's idea of what 'tech' looks like, or feels like. It mostly says nothing, and it takes itself very seriously.
Yet, the IT market has a great sense of humour, and from my experience has always been amongst the most down-to-earth, personable department in any business I've worked with. So why can't they enjoy brands who have fun with their branding? Why can there be no humour in IT? In an industry striving to humanise itself, I think its high time digital brands connected to people on a different level to what has previously been the case. And I can't think of a more appropriate place to do that, than Australia's largest IT trade show, Cebit."
The result was the Netregistry Web Clinic. Where else would you go to have your online business problems cured?
The marketing material was created as parodies of contemporary medical and pharmaceutical marketing, tongue firmly in cheek. The issue of website server uptime became a parody of the penile dysfunction industry that saturates culture ("It's not you - it's my server!"), advertising campaign management became a pregnancy service ("birthing online businesses"), Search Engine Optimisation became vision impairment ("Can't see yourself on Google?"), and website design became a cosmetic surgery service ("Need a new online face?").
The stand is set up as a doctor's clinic. Greeting passers-by are four sales staff - two male orderlies, and two female nurses. "Is your website sick?" they ask.
Once diagnosed, "patients" are sent to key sales managers, dressed as doctors, to discuss what treatment will work best for their business or website.
The stand has been the most successful Netregistry has ever had. There has not been one complaint put forward by any patrons, it has been consistently one of the busiest stands at the show, andâ€¦ best of all - people have laughed. At an IT trade show!
Turns out not everyone is amused, of course. But it's hard to get a punch-line, when you've not listened to anything but the first line of the joke. Of course, thanks to this controversy, the stand's profile - and popularity - has only grown. By yesterday afternoon, it had become a popular Cebit 09 staple to have your photo taken with the "naughty Netregistry nurses".
See them for yourself, and make up your own mind!