The FatWire/Gilbane Uber-Gaffe

By Deane Barker on December 4, 2008

fatwire since:2008-12-02 until:2008-12-03 – Twitter Search: The CEO of FatWire used Playboy Cyber Girls as his demo site at the Gilbane Conference. Smooth.

Twitter reaction was priceless:

Dear FatWire, it’s a really bad idea to give a conference keynote presentation using Playboy photos as example content […]

Fatwire CEO tried to be CUTE about the choice of Playboy content as unabashed demo, then acted surprised at audience reaction. ughh […]

These fatwire guys are worse than college kids. How unprofessional! […]

really bad move mr. Fatwire CEO using CyberClub as your demo site?!?! Then challenging crowd when they yell “this is offensive!” […]

wow, the Fatwire guys are doing a demo with Playboy content and their CEO is downplaying it to rankled attendees — DOUBLE SNAFU!

Why would you do this? At a content management conference? What part of that idea actually made sense when he was planning it? Apparently they had a couple walk-outs.

Via Seth, with thanks for introducing me to Twitter as zeitgeist indicator.

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  1. I don’t know if I can all out condemn this move. I would definitely have to say it was not the best audience to pull this kind of stunt off in front of, but it’s for sure a play out of the playbook. Then again, GoDaddy was presenting it to a much different demographic.

    In FatWire’s defense, I now have actually heard of FatWire and even read a little about their CS 7.5 when I went to their site to see what kind of people would attempt to pull this off. Also, from the looks of it they are a somewhat international company and this may have gone over much better to a possibly more liberal European audience.

  2. I would’nt have noticed it… … but now that I know the audience was shocked I just love the story ;-)

    I don’t think it would have made such a buzz in my old european country…

  3. The thing that is being missed here is that no innappropriate content was shown – all photos were replaced with G-rated headshots in the demo. This is an example of a media customer who is doing personalized content delivery on a very large scale. Everyone familar with web content management knows that this is a difficult thing to do. FatWire thought the audience would find great interest in how they are using the technologies in unique and leading ways. As we found, the brand evokes strong reactions thus the team will likely not use the demo again.

  4. This is an example of a media customer who is doing personalized content delivery on a very large scale.

    I think this was your problem. When you discuss topics like “personalized content delivery” in the context of a porn site, you evoke some bad visuals — some dude in this basement who likes “chunky Asians on all fours” using your personalized content system to fulfill his desire for self-gratification.

    See what I mean? Ew. It’s just a lose-lose for everyone. Removing the actual porn doesn’t help at all.

  5. So if someone makes their pitch with “sanitized” stereotypes of natives of India, FatWire CEO and presenter Yogesh Gupta won’t mind?

    ANd please don’t try to equate this insulting presentation with any kind of useful shock marketing. Or blather on about how much Europeans would have thought it was fine to display most of Naomi Watts’s butt during the tour of CyberGirls. This was a business conference. If Europeans think this is fine, they need to grow up. It’s not prudish to be offended by soft porn and the objectification of women in this context.

  6. Apparently one of the Drupal’s presentations at SlideShare includes a reference to Playboy as well. Must be a pandemic or something…

    I suppose including a case study like this requires some advanced skill. After initial reaction the presenter has to bring focus back to the subject area very quickly and stick to it – this is tricky, but not impossible, and if successfull – will leave a lasting impression.

    Can’t see why you have to disregard or disrespect the whole demo on Content Management on the basis of the industry choice alone…

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