The launch event held in Cape Town earlier this month revealed a range of new refrigerator and washing machine models, with the new appliances unveiled by a group of dancing ladies wearing revealing swimsuits.
The controversial choice of entertainment sparked significant uproar, with Samantha Perry of the GirlGuides website writing an open letter to the company complaining about the launch.
“Heaven forbid I, as a woman with 15 years experience covering the tech sector, should have any place at one of your launches as anything other than (frequently half-naked) eye candy,” Perry wrote.
“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.
“Thank you, Samsung, for putting us in our place. Because we now know your place is not in our handbags, our bedrooms, our lounges, our kitchens or our shopping lists.
Humbly yours, from the kitchen.”
Indeed, the unconventionality of the event was echoed by many, including journalist Axel Buhrmann, who tweeted after attending the event:
No, really, I still feel wobbly after Cape Town. See? #jetlag #africaforum twitter.com/AxelBuhrmann/s…
— Axel Buhrmann (@AxelBuhrmann) March 15, 2013
Samsung has now issued an apology in response to the criticisms, noting: “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,” Michelle Potgieter, head of corporate marketing and communications went on.
“As a result, we would like to apologise for any offence caused in this regard,” Samsung concluded, adding: “Samsung would like to assure all media and consumers that we in no way intend to favour any particular type of consumer”.