PDX Women in Tech doesn't find a software company's Portland ad campaign funny and is calling for what it says are "offensive, objectifying" billboards to be removed.
In an open letter to Shopkeep, the company under scrutiny, PDXWiT called out new ads that feature slogans like: "Does your dongle come up short?" "Replace your dongle. It's not that hard." And "Dongle not hitting the spot?"
A dongle, for those that don't know, is a piece of technology that allows computers to access wireless broadband. Shopkeep sells the device to businesses as part of its point of sale (POS) registers.
PDXWiT says the euphemism Shopkeep is employing is tired and unacceptable.
"To date," PDXWiT writes, "the only response we've received from your company is defense of the campaign as 'edgy' and needed to attract business since your company is the 'little guy.' This is a tired excuse; when one searches for penis euphemisms in advertising, they will quickly discover it is an old habit that harkens to darker themes."
Megan Bigelow, PDXWiT's co-founder, also took to Twitter to call out the "tone deaf" ad campaign, drawing responses from a few disgruntled former Shopkeep employees.
"As a former employee," Marly, one Twitter user writes, "this further justifies why I exited the company when I did."
"You and me both!" another user, Jess Ditto, chimed in.
Last summer, Shopkeep's Portland office hosted an event for PDXWiT, a move the nonprofit says signaled a commitment to promoting the careers of women in tech.
"We were so excited about our collaboration that we even bragged about you in a recent newsletter," PDXWiT writes. But now, "we denounce your advertising campaign. We request an apology and that all ads be removed immediately."
Shopkeep did not immediately respond to our requests for comment.