Samsung South Africa held their annual Africa Forum in Cape Town to showcase their latest products and to give the local media a chance to experience the new products before they go on sale across the continent.
During the unveiling of their new line-up of fridges, Samsung made an unprecedented blunder in the eyes of many journalists present – their new fridges were brought on stage by a number of scantily-clad models. To make matters worse, another unveiling shortly afterwards also included other dancers, dressed in short skirts.
“It would be entirely too much to ask that when you planned your recent Africa Forum you considered NOT using scantily clad beauties to help launch your (wait for it) new fridge. I mean let’s face it, most of your target market for that sort of product is female. And women are totally into that, oh, no, actually, that’s not us, that’s 13-year old boys,” wrote Brainstorm editor and veteran IT journalist Samantha Perry in an open letter to Samsung.
After Perry’s, and a number of other complaints, Samsung South Africa has issued an apology, stating that it wasn’t their intention to alienate their user base.
“It has come to our attention that, following recent Samsung events, there was dissatisfaction by the use of the selected promotional/entertainment ladies to unveil and demonstrate the new line up of product/s. Samsung South Africa are committed to embracing a variety of consumers across our very diverse local market and in no way intended to isolate or offend any one of these audiences through these events,” Samsung wrote in a statement.
The company went on to apologise if they caused any offense. “As a result, we would like to apologise for any offence caused in this regard and assure you that we acknowledge your views and opinions on the matter. To this end, we will endeavour to be more sensitive around these issues going forward and will raise all relevant matters with our Head Quarters and respective regional head offices accordingly.
Furthermore, Samsung would like to assure all media and consumers that we in no way intend to favour any particular type of consumer, where each consumer and target audience represents a viable portion of our business and as a result, we will continue to embrace all consumer needs and requirements within the market.”
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor