Unfortunate Server Ad

image Just last week Intel got in trouble for a poorly thought-out ad. And now another technology company is in hot water for the same reason. Quite a few blogs have been posting a picture of a print ad created by QSOL.com. It shows an attractive woman's face with the caption, "Don't feel bad, our servers won't go down on you either."

Intel could credibly claim that they didn't intend for their ad to be racist, but it's hard for QSOL to argue that they didn't intend for this to be sexist. Someone at QSOl must have thought that a bit of frat-house humor would appeal to the purchasers of their technology, whom I'm guessing are mostly male.

The ad does appear to be real. It is said to have appeared in the August, 2007 issue of Linux Journal. However, QSOL.com makes no mention of the ad on their website.


Posted on Thu Aug 09, 2007


It appears to be something of a new trend in the Open Source Geek world lately to use sexy topics for marketing. Guess they want to shed their nerdy image. Take "femfox" for example (NSFW!): http://www.femfox.com/ , which promotes Firefox in a sexy way (although not being an official affiliate of Mozilla).

And so what. Car manufacturers and lingery, cosmetics, soap and deodorant manufacturers have done so for ages.
Posted by LaMa  in  Europe  on  Thu Aug 09, 2007  at  12:17 PM
The mistake in capitalization ("Our") makes me think it's not real.
Posted by mara  on  Thu Aug 09, 2007  at  02:15 PM
I think the capitalization may be on purpose to emphasize that it is their servers that won't be crashing on you.

While the ad is definitely risqu
Posted by Transfrmr  in  deep trouble  on  Thu Aug 09, 2007  at  04:55 PM
I think it's great!
All the best ads get pulled don't they? (no pun intended - seriously!)
But I agree with Trans, it's no more risqu
Posted by Nettie  in  Perth, Western Australia  on  Thu Aug 09, 2007  at  06:34 PM
I too am puzzled how this is remotely sexist. Risque, yes. Sexist, no.
Posted by Joe  on  Thu Aug 09, 2007  at  10:56 PM
Because it assumes the target readership is male.

Using sex to sell things is as old as the hills, but where the item being advertised is obviously unisex (as in the case of a server) there is no real justification for it.

It's like draping a half-clothed model over a car in order to sell it. The implication is that no women buy your cars, or that you are not interested in those that do.

If it's not sexist, where's the advert with the hunky guy and the by-line "Don't worry, at least our servers can expand to meet your needs" to appeal to the other half of the market?
Posted by David B.  on  Fri Aug 10, 2007  at  06:50 AM
It's sexist because it's implying that the only thing a woman is good for is going down on you, and if she doesn't, she's a useless product, unlike the server, which would be a useless product if it did go down on you. if I was a woman reading a technology magazine (and women do, you know!) I'd feel very uncomfortable coming face to face with this ad.
Posted by Nona  in  London  on  Fri Aug 10, 2007  at  09:46 AM
I work in market research (unfortunately), and my experience says if they're 'assuming the target readership is male' that's not because they're making sexist assumptions but because they've paid a dumpsterful of cash to find out who butys their shit and found that their market (and more specifically the magazine's readership) is male.

Likely they'll have forked out to test the ad itself, too: sexist ads (regardless of whether this is one such) tend to be a reflection of the consumer base, not of the company.
Posted by outeast  in  Prague, Czech Rep  on  Fri Aug 10, 2007  at  09:46 AM
Yeah, it's real. I saw it in Linux magazine, but it's not new. It was from 1999 or 2000. I'd be surprised if they're still running it.
Posted by Reid  in  Santa Clara, CA  on  Mon Aug 13, 2007  at  12:31 AM
I don't know, I saw it and assumed the woman was bummed out bc a guy wouldn't go down on her. Am I the only one?
Posted by Kim  on  Mon Aug 13, 2007  at  04:10 PM
Our isn't miscapitalized. That comma before it should be a period.

This is another ad in a long series that runs in Linux Journal. It is most certainly not a hoax.

Kim: Yes, you are.
Posted by Carl  in  Long Island, NY  on  Tue Aug 14, 2007  at  05:02 PM
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