Automotive Digital Marketing

Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders

Loading... Be Patient!

I am always amazed at people boiling down booth bait, CarDoll, etc. to "sex sells, stupid".  Instead of that quick and shallow answer, let's think a minute or two.  About where we work.  And who we work with.

When women started working at dealerships in capacities other than the receptionist, how long do you think the nudie calendars stayed up?  A while.  And then one day it stopped.

To the public, sex sells products every day.  And I'm sure in professional business-to-business sales in many verticals it still gets a place, too (I've actually seen it outside the car business).  However, at what point do we "take the calendars down" of booth bait, CarDoll, etc., in respect for our female co-workers?  How long is that "while"?

In some ways, perhaps dealerships are the last big "man cave" in the country.

Anyway, so I say "take the calendars down".  That's just me and my opinion.  Maybe one day we will.  

And, if we do, I will actually miss them, as a man.  As a professional, I take that as small price to pay to make the folks I work with more comfortable.

That's just my 1st Amendment opinion.  Uncensored.  No personal attacks.  If you disagree with me and won't change your mind, don't worry or whine about it, just go enjoy the booth bait at NADA, etc. and other services as "sex sells".  I will enjoy it myself.  That's the truth.

And I will also be happy when one day in this business we grow past it, too.  And that's also the truth.


Keith Shetterly
Houston, Texas
January 2013

Views: 648


Oops... You need to stop "Lurking" on ADM and become a more genuine Automotive Professional by completing your membership registration. As a registered ADM Member, you can post comments, publish your own articles (be a star!) and start Forum discussions. Stop being an online "Peeping Tom" and JOIN ADM RIGHT NOW!

Join Automotive Digital Marketing

Comment by Russell B. Hill on February 5, 2013 at 8:12am

well said Keith. I wonder what sparked this?

Comment by Keith Shetterly on January 31, 2013 at 10:52am

Now that's a funny line, Cathy:  "These folks either feel that they have nothing else to offer or they have nothing else to offer."

Comment by Cathy Nesbit on January 31, 2013 at 10:13am

I'm enjoying the comments & the post.

In my opinion, "booth bait" and "cardoll" are a bit like comparing oranges and tangerines. They look alike, but they aren't.

The "booth bait" type is there to attract, not educate. Obviously, sex sales, it works right?

It says more about the person who does the hiring and what they think about the quality of their product than it says about the girls. The people who need to sale that way are dbags. If you want to be a dbag and sale to other dbags, hey you go for it.

The "booth bait" girls aren't there to train you on the product. They are there to attract you to the booth. Which is completely different than a "cardoll" type.

With a "cardoll" type it says more about that person. Their product is them and their knowledge which they are selling to you. So to me, that says they don't think much of the quality of their product either. If you or the quality of your knowledge isn't that valuable it would probably help to say it naked, right?

"Cardoll" types (I know nothing of cardoll other than what I've read this week-so this is not my opinion of the person but of the type). If you have something of value to say you can put some clothes on and say it.

What they lack is confidence in themselves. Blatant sexiness looks like confidence when it's actually the opposite. (Think of a really cocky dude-he's a prick-he thinks he's "all that"-He's Insecure!) These folks either feel that they have nothing else to offer or they have nothing else to offer. Sex and sexiness are not devaluing, they are actually awesome in the right context, but taking your clothes off for other people because you feel bad about yourself isn't sexy it's pitiful. I feel bad for these people because they may be really talented, but they don't know it so they don't show it. (and me, I'm a poet who didn't know it lol). 

Comment by Jim Bell on January 31, 2013 at 7:40am

Agreed with you on this Keith.  Maybe we should jump in some speedos and walk around a foosball table and give tips that dealers are already doing. I just don't get why someone would use their wife like this.  It's just not right.

Yes, they have a lot of likes on their FB page, but how many are actually in the automotive industry.  They did it by selling sex, but I am in no favor in it at all.

Comment by Ketty Colom on January 31, 2013 at 7:20am


I know you aren't trying to change human nature, but hopefully it will stop. In the meantime we can all lead by example. I know I'm not bait booth when I go to these conferences. =) 

Comment by Keith Shetterly on January 31, 2013 at 7:17am

Thanks Ketty!  I think I understand that sex sells, but that's an interesting point about sexual repression in history.  For centuries, women were chattel.  Their rights as people derived from the oldest male in their house.  History has had several fits and starts of enlightenment on this issue, but essentially you can think of chattel in this case as anything other than land that men would fight to keep or take.  Right there with food, water, gold, and horses.  :(

Sex sells to men and to women now.  I've seen sexual shenanigans from both men and women in power positions in this industry and others.

So, we know it sells.  I am not trying to change human nature or spout on moral or religious grounds.

I just want us to realize it's okay to NOT support business-to-business advertising like this and maybe one day it will stop.  Or greatly reduce. 


Comment by Ketty Colom on January 31, 2013 at 6:59am

In order to understand why sex sells we have to take a look at history. Some scholars argue that the moment that the image of perfection switched from female to male (David) it all went downhill from there. The Victorian era shunned people for thinking sexual thoughts, apparently the sight of a table leg made a guy go crazy, have you ever wondered why we have table skirts?  Then what happens? The Industrial Era, worker movements, civil rights, women's rights, I won't dive deep into this, but in order to understand the present (and future) we need to take a look at our past. 

Hopefully my jumbled thoughts made sense. 

Comment by Keith Shetterly on January 31, 2013 at 5:05am

I don't support advertising that makes dealers look devious and untrustworthy and don't support the companies that do that.  I speak out against it because I know it's a stereotype that someone uses against dealers to sell their wares.  And that it hurts dealers.

I don't support advertising that makes women look salacious and shallow, either, and I don't support the companies that do that.  I speak out against it because I know it's a stereotype that someone uses against women to sell their wares.  And that it hurts women.

CarDoll got my attention, and I didn't like it.  Then CarDoll's Facebook posts included shots of her dressed in her bra, getting comments on her white panties, and even CarDoll pointing out a very demeaning Urban Dictionary entry about her (about women) with a smile.

That's not just "sex sells".  And so I speak out.  Some get it, and some don't.

Criss Castle has more class in her eyelash than advertising like this.  Some women get more upset than others about this.  Julie Seitz wrote probably the clearest about it when she mentioned how she was moving forward in the car business and looks over her shoulder and things like CarDoll were pulling her backwards.

Anyway, thanks for all the replies.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 30, 2013 at 11:24pm

I thoroughly enjoy Criss Castle's comments... To me they read genuine, real and point out the simple fact that trying to avoid any of the human sexuality aspects of men and women working together is to dehumanize all of us. Yes, men and women are different... The way "attraction" is created or eliminated are different for men and women. Personally, I embrace these differences and cannot imagine trying to run away from what it is to be human. Like I have said elsewhere, viva le difference.  What would make a lot more sense is to learn about those differences, accept them for the reality that they are and be respectful to each other along the way.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 30, 2013 at 11:16pm

Keith, I realize that you did not spend your entire career in the auto industry, and your perspective of having worked in other verticals adds more facets to what you see... But, I disagree with you on the concept that the auto industry was more primitive in the past and has somehow evolved for the better moving forward in time.  In the mid 1980's I managed a sales department with 18 full time sales professionals... 100% female.  The dealership was Kearny Mesa VW Peugeot. Not too far away was a dealership named "Seaside Buick" with a female DP, Female GM and all sales professionals being women as well.  I have worked for quite a few female dealer principals, and general managers.  Not too far from where you live is Lone Star Chevrolet... The woman who is the General Manager there is smart, street savvy and tough as any male counterpart I have worked for.  So, before we all find it so easy to jump on the band wagon of the car business being so anti-female, let's take a look at the women who have been successful and do occupy leadership positions.  When I worked at Reynolds and Reynolds, I reported to several female directors and then later, several female vice presidents. Most of the product managers were women. 


Along the way, in over 30 years I have hired over a thousand people into the auto industry... Most of them have been women. So before I am willing to lament the male domination of the auto industry  Let's take a look at some of the recent facts, and take note of WHERE the greatest inequities are in the auto industry:

United States

Labor Force
  • In 2011, 25.9% of jobs in the Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicles Equipment Manufacturing industry were held by women.1
  • In 2011, women made up:
    • 1.2% of automotive body and related repairers,2
    • 1.4% of automotive service technicians and mechanics.3
  • Volvo is one of a few motor companies that have had a women-majority team (80%) design a car (a concept car).4
  • Women are approximately 30% of the global design staff for BMW, and 20% of the design staff at GM.5

Women in Auto Management

  • Percentage of women corporate officers in the Motor Vehicle and Parts industry: 11.5% (37 of 321);6 this is up from 11.2% (39 of 349) in 2002,7 and 7.5% (25/332) in 1998.8
  • Percentage of women on the boards of directors in the Motor Vehicle and Parts industry: 12.4% (23/186);9 this is up from 8.4% (20 out of 239) in 200110 and 9.5% (13 out of 137) in 1998.11

Dealerships and Sales

  • According to CNW Marketing Research, women-owned dealerships were just 2.8% of all dealerships.12
  • In 2010, women were 13.0% of all Sales Workers in the Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Industry.13
  • Women made up nearly 18.2% of all employees at automobile dealers, and 23.9% of all employees at other motor vehicle dealers in 2010.14

Work-Life in the Automotive Industry

  • According to a 2010 survey done by Deloitte, 56% of respondents reported that their companies do not have active recruitment programs targeting women.15
  • In the same survey, 40% of women complained in regards to their companies’ cultures concerning family commitments. 28% said the industry is “less than accepting” of family commitments.16
  • Furthermore, 20% of the survey respondents stated that their company’s efforts in the retention of women were “below average” or “poor,” but 32% stated that these efforts were “above average.”17

Women’s Influence in the Industry

  • In 2010, CNW Marketing Research found at 47.3% of women car shoppers prefer women dealers, while 38.5% have no preference.18
  • Women made up 44.1% of primary vehicle buyers in 2010, compared to 19.5% in 1990.19


Automotive Professional Network and Resource Exchange for Car Dealers, Managers, OEM and Marketing Practitioners seeking Best Practices.

ADM Sponsor

William B. Terry
Rated by Super Lawyers

loading ...

ADM Badge


Based On Your Interests...

ADM Consulting, LLC

Onsite/Offsite Combination ADM Consulting, LLC Professional Services
Select the maximum monthly investment you plan to make
Sign up for

Automotive Marketing Tools

Get ADM Toolbar

Click here to take the ADM Member Survey

Getting too many emails from ADM? Click mailbox below to control which types of alerts and updates you are sent......



ADM Professional Services
Phone Consultation
Topic or Issue:

Top Automotive Marketing Forum Discussions

Share the Best Content w/AutoMarketing Community

© 2020   Created by Ralph Paglia.   Powered by

ADM Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service