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August 8, 2007

Dog Days News: Microsoft hires ex-topless model as IT poster girl

Posted by David Hunter at 10:56 PM ET.

James Cornelius enlivens the Dog Days of August with “hot news” from Australia:

In a bid to attract young people to careers in the world of IT, Microsoft Australia has hired former Miss Australia and ex-topless model, Erin McNaught, to front a new advertising campaign. The move comes after a 38% drop in university enrolments in IT courses in Australia during the past two years.

That might do it for the guys at least.

Although McNaught has admitted that she doesn’t know that much about computers, she apparently is a keen gamer, hosting the Cyber Shack TV show in Australia.

Don’t get me started about the “presenters” on nominally tech TV shows and podcasts.

While this cynical 1970′s approach to marketing is tragic enough, what is really bizarre is that Microsoft has a chosen a university dropout as its poster girl. McNaught “deferred” studies at the Queensland University of Technology to pursue a career in modeling.

Clothing optional modeling, apparently. As might be expected, this is drawing lots of Internet comment (with mostly safe for work pictures), but here’s what Microsoft had to say:

Microsoft spokeswoman Rose Clements said McNaught was a great role model for potential IT students and, as a female, would also encourage more girls into the profession.

Some things you just can’t make up.

Update (Aug. 9): Microsoft is now vehement that “there is no financial arrangement of any description between itself and McNaught.”

Filed under General Business, Microsoft, Public Relations

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