Nor-Shipping apologises for exhibitor’s sexist marketing ploy

Oslo: The organisers of Nor-Shipping rushed out a press release last night condemning one of the exhibitors for its marketing tactics that objectify women.

The stand is run by the Danish town of Fredrikshavn and features four companies from there. Naked painted women have been deployed to promote the stand, something that was quickly picked up on by Rose George, author of the book about shipping 90% of everything, who kicked off a social media campaign to get action taken against the exhibitor.

Nor-Shipping was forced to issue a public statement as the nipplegate scandal escalated on social media and even on to mainstream Norwegian media.

“We would like to publicly respond to how one of our exhibitors is currently using the female body in its marketing at Nor-Shipping 2015. This use of painted, semi-naked women at a stand to attract attention is inexcusable and does not serve the interests of Nor-Shipping, the maritime community or any other community,” the organiser’s director, Vidar Pederstad, said in a release last night.

“We apologize and acknowledge that it should not have been permitted. Such an insulting use of body and gender will not be allowed at Nor-Shipping 2017,” Pederstad added.

“To see a body-painted naked woman being used to advertise shipping – though I still don’t know how – is both sexist and stupid in this day and age. I know that a lot of people in shipping will be disturbed by it,” Rose George told Splash today.

“It is intimidating to women passing the booth, commercially pointless, and thoroughly out of touch with an industry that has many great people – and women – trying to make it more transparent, welcoming, and an industry in which women feel comfortable working, whether at sea or ashore.”

The painted women were nowhere to be seen this morning, just a couple of marketing mouse pads (pictured) left on the stand as evidence of yesterday’s furore.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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