Gather round, childerns, and let Grandpap tell you a tale:
As a greenskeeper at a golf course in the late 1980s, I learned about the “Snap-on calendar.” Big deal back then! Like all kinds of mechanics’ shops across the country, every month or so our maintenance building got a visit by a truck full of high-quality tools made by a company called Snap-on. The “Snap-on guy,” as he was always called, gave customers every year a complimentary calendar full of hot babes in come-hither poses with power drills and the like.
And Snap-on’s customers bought at least enough tools to keep the truck, and the annual calendar, coming round. And we put those calendars on our shop wall, for the tedium-relieving titillation of all the guys who worked there. And women who happened to work there or wives or girlfriends who happened to visit would just chuckle. Boys would be boys, and it was a boy’s world.
Fast-forward a third of a century.
Now, isn’t it hilariously wonderful I’m old enough to have lived in such a cretinous dark age? Can you believe how far we’ve come since I was a young man? And could you imagine a company—even a tool company, whose customers are all primarily blue-collar men, but many of whose customers are now women, too—offering customers female “cheesecake” as a marketing tool? Do you even know what “cheesecake” refers to?
That post appeared last week the company’s Facebook page, and LinkedIn, too; despite a number of complaints, at this writing they’re still there.
I actually like Lincoln Electric, this Cleveland welding company. It’s got a rich history and a no-layoff employment tradition with excellent profit-sharing. It also sees itself as a cultural icon of a sort. A few years ago I wrote a couple of stories for their customer magazine, which has used “content marketing” stories to promote good ideas like trade education and apprenticeships—and also promoting, in fact, women’s increasing entry into welding and other trades. Their articles and videos helped make a star and an inspiration of the race-car-driver and metal fabricator Jessi Combs, who died in a crash three years ago.
Now, Lincoln is promoting Chloe Hudson, who has an Instagram page called #arcweldingangel, devoted to pics of her welding-sexy. And they’re posing her like this.
Power to Hudson’s elbow, as long as she doesn’t mind the kinds of comments that appeared on the Facebook site:
“Thsts a nice welding machine”
“Chloe seems very talented. Good job Chloe”
“Theres definitely enough room on top of that machine to make me a sandwich…”
But a proud brand like Lincoln Electric, using Snap-on calendar stylings to draw interest to their social media sites, in 2022—to celebrate International Women’s Day, no less?
I mean: Snap-on, perhaps fearing sexual harassment lawsuits, discontinued its calendar in 1994.
Lincoln Electric, for godsakes, take these posts down, fire your chief marketing officer and replace (I’m just guessing here)—him—with someone who resides mentally in the 21st century.
Hell, the late 20th would be an improvement on this.