Cloud Hosting Company’s  Pathetic, Sexist Bro Ad

FORTA

Please review the following promotional effort by a cloud hosting company for your pop marketing quiz:

Pop Marketing Quiz

  1. FORTAcloud’s recent Marketing Message was:
    1. We like to do it with hot babes as much as the next guy.
    2. We obviously don’t have any women on our marketing team.
    3. Here’s something you can look at while we have our way with you.
    4. All of the Above.

Correct Answer: 4.

What Can You Possibly be Thinking?

You just can’t make this stuff up. Here’s the play-by-play:

  • At 7:14AM PST on May 18, a cloud hosting company posts its marketing campaign, blasting its followers with a picture of a woman in lingerie.
  • The company gets immediately attacked, by women and men alike.
  • The company stands its ground, saying basically, Hey, our customers enjoy porn, and they deserve to see it when they’re being sold our awful hosting packages (see image of their incredible performance figures below – hey, 2 stars for Uptime, not bad!).

FORTA 02

This is one of those things that could easily have died on Twitter, but with more people frustrated these days by being insulted and objectified by marketers, it got considerable traction.

“It’s pretty interesting that I can still embed FORTAcloud’s actual tweet about the deal instead of relying on a screenshot,” offered Jenny Kutner sarcastically, “because — in a surprising turn of events — the ad was rather quickly criticized as sexist, in a manner that might typically result in a brand removing the questionable content and issuing an apology.”

What’s really funny and also kind of disgusting about this situation is how much disrespect it shows that FORTAcloud has for its customers. It’s one thing to post the thing, and that’s bad enough.

What’s amazing, though, is that the cloud service provider is arrogant enough to seemingly not care that hundreds of people are bashing it through its own social media channel. I would assume that some of these people are its customers. Gauging the general sentiments online toward the organization’s cloud servers, surely many of these individuals were looking forward to the opportunity to use them as a punching bag.

“The company fired back at critics who dared to suggest it might be problematic to objectify a scantily clad woman without any context,” explained Kutner, “or to blatantly use her body to attract customers for an unrelated service because ‘everybody else is doing it.’”

See below:

FORTA 03

As you can imagine, these boneheaded responses by the cloud hosting company only made the matter worse.

Here are some of the perspective of those upset with the image and the poor efforts at self-defense, the attitude of pretty much everyone who was engaging with the post:

  • Technical strategist Thayer Prime said that the advertisement suggested their service was so terrible that they were purposely trying to attract ignorant customers.
  • IT consultant Sally Jenkinson noted that the initial post by FORTAcloud was pathetic, and the company’s responses only made the situation worse.
  • Web developer Shane Hudson said he thought the marketing was preposterous and that he would never want to do business with the company, pointing out that he falls within their target demo as a 21-year-old male.

The core concern of most people who engaged with the tweet was that the cloud service provider was using women’s sexuality as a tool. They were symbolically undressing the women in their audience by stripping a woman for no other reason than to strip her, no matter how irrelevant that action was to their discount offer.

“I am absolutely fascinated by who would ever think this is a good strategic decision,” said ResourceiT managing director Julie Simpson. “What is even more disturbing is the way they’ve reacted to the reaction from people on Twitter.”

Simpson said that the company would have done itself a huge favor if they had responded to the criticism by accepting the fact that they had made a mistake. People are willing to forgive when companies will admit that they made a misstep.

Instead, they kind of got into a semantic conversation about the definition of sexism and seemed to suggest that whatever might be wrong with the material didn’t matter because their audience loves sexy ladies.

Perhaps it was all a clever plot, and FORTAcloud is not the misogynistic bro weenies they appear to be.

“We know what’s really going on here,” posed Kutner. “FORTAcloud might have been attempting to highlight the pervasive objectification of women in advertising by noting that many industries with predominantly male clientele rely on [that advertising tactic].”

A Hosting Company that Likes Women

What this Twitter disaster really comes down to is respect. The fact is, if you have a good product, you are much less likely to have a click-bait attitude toward the lowest common denominator in your audience. Do these guys really think that professional women want to have to look at that nonsense? Or professional men, for that matter? It’s insulting.

At Superb Internet, we like women, and our marketing is based on confidence in the strength of our cloud hosting systems – which have met numerous certifications for regulatory compliance and objective technological standards.

By Kent Roberts

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