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Advertising and “bait and switch”


With improvements in technology and the Prostitution Reform Act and ladies becoming independent and doing their own marketing, the sex industry has come so far.  You can more or less expect to get what you see in the photographs with independent escorts, although some complain of dishonest or overly-flattering photos or photos which were taken when the lady was several years younger and several pounds lighter.  It is so much nicer for men – they really are spoilt for choice and as far as I know there are no waiting rooms anywhere (like some places had back in the day) and they are highly unlikely to come across any other people, ladies or other clients, during their visit to a professional independent escort.
Independent ladies can write their own blurb and choose their own photos, revealing a bit of their personality and details about services on offer.  Rather than talking to a receptionist at an agency who will sell each lady, giving some more of a favourable spiel than others, callers can talk to the independent escort lady directly.  Gentlemen can pretty much get what they expect.

Bait and switch is a term used by clients who see images of a particular attractive woman in advertisements, usually at an escort agency or massage parlour, then when they turn up for the booking with the lady, they find there is another lady having been substituted.  If this lady is younger and hotter than the lady in the photographs, well, then there would never be a complaint, but as it is a lady that is usually older and less attractive, a few men then have their noses a little out of joint.  They feel they have been baited by the image, and then the lady has been switched.

Please note, that most agencies do not use the bait and switch process nowadays but some still do.  Back in the day, prior to the PRA, some used to as a matter of course, and I’ll explain why soon.

Funnily enough, these agencies do not necessarily have an intention to deceive.  Well, no more than somewhere like McDonalds, which advertises pictures of delicious looking burgers, with all the items perfectly placed, cheese or sauce drizzled enticingly over some of the ingredients, and maybe even a faded swirly vertical line of steam, implying that your burger will be fresh, hot and totally delectable.  The reality is that the staff, in their hurry to meet targets of a certain number of burgers to be produced per hour, do not have time to perfectly drizzle the sauce, and instead it may be dribbled, over the sloppily thrown down burger which hangs over one side of the bun so that the other side is totally empty of filling, covered by wilted lettuce etc etc with a cracked bun on top and no steam, perhaps steam has converted the burger into a pile of sogginess (the previous steam has dampened the minutes-old bun).  The burger in the photo may be the ideal, but it is unlikely that the burger you are delivered is going to look like that every time.

The sophisticated honey in the escort advertisement may in reality be a pasty-skinned youngster with a bad dye job, or a mature “grandma” with a saggy tummy and stretchmarks on her down-facing boobies.  The sophisticated honey may be the ideal that the agency hopes to employ but on that particular day there is no one who comes close who is available to the gentleman who drops in.

So that’s the ads.  What about their internet listings for particular ladies?  The photos show them to be so sweet. Cute poses with long legs and full breasts, sometimes a hand shyly placed over her tummy, or she demurely crosses her legs.  She may have pretty, long hair and you may catch a glimpse of pouty kissable lips.  The ads may even have been photoshopped a bit to make her look very va-va-voom indeed. Where was this young lovely when you fronted up for your booking?

The young lovely may or may not work there, or may have at one particular time and she represents the ideal that the agency would love to have there as she really gets the punters through the door.  They’re all ringing up asking for her.  Or, if the young lovely really does work there, she may not be the sweet girl she is portrayed as – the agency has no control over how she behaves in the room, and if she is is not in the mood for working much, she may behave badly.  Despite all the praise and compliments she may receive from her clients, she may be grumpy and impatient with them if they take longer to finish than she would like, sending her clients home feeling like quite a piece of shit.  Or she may have been so popular and booked up that she grew to hate her job so no longer gave the warm, sweet service clients were hoping for.  The agency may even have had to let her go.

The reality is though, that if the young lovely in the ad really did work there, there would be an imbalance.  Everyone would be coming in to book the young lovely, and all the other ladies would be sitting around at the agency losing their working mojo and developing a sour attitude.  They all want a fair chance of making some money and if the young lovely is the only one that is busy, the young lovely will soon get burned out and become grumpy quickly, and the other ladies will be getting grumpy as well, for not making any money.  There may even be some office politics happening, where ladies are ganging up on the young lovely and it’s all rather unpleasant.

When I worked at Tudor Court, there was a line-up system, and there was a particular lady, not especially attractive, she had a squarish shaped head and a heavy build, but she did this thing where she licked her lips and every time she lined up, no matter who else was on she would always be the one chosen.  While she was busy with clients, everyone else had a fair chance, but when she was in the line up doing her lip-licking thing, no one else had a look in.

So the agencies known for bait and switch, may believe that the fairest thing to do is to rotate the ladies.  If the young lovely really does work there and does even happen to be available, she will hide out the back so that one of the others can get some work, that way they all make roughly the same amount of money.  It’s a bit of an old-fashioned idea.  Too bad about what the client wants, it was assumed he was happy with any live, breathing woman – insulting really.  Back in the day, when I was a ship girl, clients would really have to take who they were given and make the best of it.  They seemed happy enough.  They stuck with the ladies they had been seeing every time they had come into port for the last ten years because it would set the cat among the pigeons if they tried to switch.

As far as agencies prior to the internet, which has changed everything, they differentiated themselves with just a picture of some gorgeous model in a yellow pages and newspaper ads, and depending on the name of the agency and their ad, you’d expect to get a certain class of lady and pay a corresponding amount accordingly.  No one expected that the hot sexy lady in the ad actually worked there.  However, you could still ring and get a description or ask for a particular type of lady, a busty redhead or a petite brunette, or an athletic blonde and the nearest lady to your requirements would be waiting for you.

There were other places which would do the rotation system, where whoever was next up to be available would be, and no one offered GFE or anything special, but if you were lucky she was attractive and had a cool personality and a come hither quality that would draw you in and make sure you had a great time.  If it was a busy establishment, the girl would feel obliged to get you to come and out the door asap so she could go and look after the next guy in the queue, who, if they had a waiting room, would be waiting there nervously with the other guys, avoiding eye contact and hoping no one they knew would come in.  It was all a bit tacky really, that’s why we ladies at places like the Penthouse thought we were all that, our dudes got to linger and mingle as if they were in a club (where all the women were gorgeous and they all wanted you) and therefore it felt more upmarket.

If bait and switch is a concern when visiting an agency, make sure you choose an agency that you can communicate your requirements to clearly.  Do they understand that you are wanting to book a specific lady as shown in the advertisement or listing?  If you get there and she is not the one in the ad, either ask to see the other ladies, or ask how long you will have to wait until that particular lady is free.  If necessary, have a print out of the advertisement.  However, if you are paying bottom dollar compared to independent escorts (less upmarket agencies tend to undercut independents by about $20 or more), you must expect that their business could be run on a rotation basis and it is not necessarily the fault of the lady that she does not meet your expectations.  If it is a concern, and you have a specific requirement rather than an easy-going, take-your-chances attitude, you’d be better off to pay a little bit more for an independent sex worker so that you can call the lady directly and clarify that all your important specifications are met before making the booking and parting with your hard-earned cash.


2 Responses to Advertising and “bait and switch”

  1. s_s says:

    Hi Amber,

    I love your writing but cannot agree with this. The burger analogy is invalid because no sane person would expect to be served the particular burger which was photographed by Satchi & Satchi months prior in New York. BigMac is a generic method how to put a burger together; what buns to use, what the filling and sauce should be etc. What one pays for at McDonalds are burgers assembled using the BigMac method – with reasonable variations. Even though people are not promised to be served the exact burgers used in ad photos if burger chains push the boundaries of ‘reasonable variation’ they will get done – see http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/advertising/misleading-burger-king-advert-banned-2031233.html

    WG ads are different in that they do not advertise some generic women but the actual sex workers. ‘Tania, 18yo, Euro, blonde, 168cm, 48kg, firm C cup, dress size 6 …’ is not a description of a typical escort the particular brothel employs. She is advertised as the person who will actually end up in the room with males willing to pay for her time. If she were a generic description the ad should also read ‘the escort you will see may be different from the person advertised’. Wondering how well this would go down with NZG? They do have brothel ads with generic photos but these are different from the personal ads of individual WGs.

    A better analogy would be of a photo model hired from a talent agency. If Bendon asked for Tania and got sent a middle aged size 14 woman with saggy DDs they would not be happy. If then they were told that the agency ‘rotates’ models they would spew. In a similar way if I booked Tania I would expect to see the girl roughly fitting the ad description. I would understand that her hairstyle may be different on the day but I would expect her to be the actual person advertised and not someone else.

    I also disagree with you on the reasons brothels bait & switch. In my view they do it purely out of greed. Photos of an attractive escort are used to ‘bait’ customers who are under a false impression they would be spending time with Tania, and set them up for a ‘switch’. The practice is dishonest and completely illegal under Commerce Law. It also happens to be commonplace in Auckland. From my experience more than half of the NZG escort ads are false – the girl in the pics does not work for the outfit, she is now way bigger (4+ dress sizes), way older (10+ years) etc.

    Now a personal story. My partner is an ex WG. The brothels she used to work for kept her ad on for months after she quit. She asked them many times to stop but they would not. In the end she had to contact NZG. I remember that once we were on holidays out of Auckland and three of her ads were up. Just for fun I asked by text if the escort they have is the actual person in the photos – she has a quite distinctive body type – and this was confirmed by the brothel. They were happy to lie through their teeth to get me in through the door. This is why I consider bait & switch an illegal scam and not a time-honoured, if problematic, industry practice.


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