Open Letter to the CEO of Shopkeep
**UPDATE: On March 20th, the CEO of Shopkeep contacted Megan Bigelow issuing an apology, a commitment to end the campaign and to partner with PDXWIT in the future. You can see the official Shopkeep statement here.**
On June 2017, following an event your Portland office hosted for our organization, PDX Women in Technology, you mentioned that we influenced you to want to hold a similar event at your corporate headquarters in New York. Your involvement in our event and the fact that you did in fact replicate our event at your headquarters in New York City was a strong indication to us that you were committed to furthering the careers of women in your organization. We were so excited about our collaboration that we even bragged about you in a recent newsletter.
On International Women’s Day, our president and co-founder, after being fed up with seeing your dongle advertisements throughout Portland, tweeted about it here and here. This sparked a social media conversation involving former Shopkeep employees, tech company founders, and citizens who are offended by these advertising tactics. Some of the offensive, objectifying messages include:
“Does your dongle come up short?”
“Replace your dongle. It’s not that hard.”
“Dongle not hitting the spot anymore?”
To date, the only response we’ve received from your company is a 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. Should we consider Burger King a little guy, considering they tried this in 2009?
In light of donglegate, the #MeToo movement, National Women’s History Month, the fact that women-owned businesses are growing at a rate faster than men-owned businesses and your personal commitment toward supporting women at your company, we denounce your advertising campaign. We request an apology and that all ads be removed immediately.
Arezou Seifpour, Megan Bigelow, Kristina King and Emma Holland
About the authors: Arezou is a member of the Mentorship team and leads the Ambassador Board initiative, Kristina is a member of the Marketing team, responsible for the organization’s voice, Emma Holland is a community member and co-organizer of the Diversity Dinner and Discussion events, and Megan is the president and co-founder.