The reviews on a racy Ring of Fire promotional video from KWG Resources featuring bikini models is drawing mixed reaction from some professional women in the mining industry.
If the video was intended to educate casual investors on the Ring of Fire, Barb Courte, chair of the Thunder Bay chapter of Women in Mining, wondered what kind of lesson was being absorbed. “If you want to educate people, putting someone in a bikini is not going to educate them. It’s tacky.”
She posted the video, entitled ‘5 Interesting Ring of Fire Facts,’ to her chapter’s Facebook page to gauge members’ reaction.“Basically, the women are not happy with this, and you know what? We’ve evolved. Why must we go back to the old days? If you’re trying to appeal to a younger audience, that’s not how you do it.”
The short video features two former Sunshine Girl models promoting the mineral and economic potential of the Far North deposits while lounging at a lakeside cottage.
Released in early August, the video has gone viral through social media, having been picked up by tabloid media outlets as far away as the United Kingdom.
According to KWG president Frank Smeenk, the video is the brainchild of self-promoter Theresa Longo, one of the models, who is the company’s new strategic marketing consultant and brand ambassador.
The video is one of a series of ‘Mining Minute’ episodes posted on the chromite junior miner’s website and on YouTube.
Courte, a former drilling company boss, views it through her own personal lens of being treated as a novice industry interloper, because of her gender, when she took over her late husband’s outfit in 2007.
As a mentor to young women entering the field, Courte said the video doesn’t reflect well on an industry that struggles to recruit women into the workforce. And it doesn’t help those who face harassment on the job today.
“We do have cases in the northwest of women being bullied. It’s hard enough for women to get into this industry and stay in it.”
Using sex appeal to “appeal to a certain audience” doesn’t do much to enhance KWG’s professional reputation, she said.
“Would you invest in that company? Do they think anybody really got the message?”
Courte said her chapter likely won’t ask the company to pull the video.
“If that’s the direction they want to take, they’re free to do it. I’m not asking them to take it down. It should be their decision.”
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