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I’m writing a novel where one of the characters is a 酒促小姐 (literally translated as “wine promoter miss”). They come to your table (usually in bars and restaurants) and promote particular beer brands.

I’m not sure if this is something that you only find in the country I’m currently living in (Taiwan).

I would like to know what’s the best way of referring to them (since it is for a novel, I just want something short).

I know they are not waitresses because, well, they only promote beer. They pour beer in your glass, and talk to you sometimes, but I don’t think they are hostesses either.

Any suggestions?

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This is probably a cultural phenomenon peculiar to your area of the world, but in America we might call such an individual a spokesperson (or spokesmodel in the case of a woman whose only gifts were physical). A less courteous term would be shill or, in BrE (I believe), tout, though the latter is probably mostly a horse-racing term. –  Robusto Aug 2 '12 at 11:54
    
@Rob: ...and shill and tout are not particularly female, maybe slightly male. –  Mitch Aug 2 '12 at 12:06
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3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I believe that they are collectively called "promotional models" (or simply "promo models"). In the case of beer, wine, energy drinks, etc., they appear to be referred to as "Beverage Promotional Models". Depending on the brand that they are promoting, they might also be called "Red Bull Girls", "Miller Lite Girls", "Bacardi girls", and so on.

Promo girls are not necessarily restricted to bars and are usually seen at launch parties, expos/trade shows/conventions and the like. Their customary presence in conventions has led to them also being referred to as "convention models".

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For a novel, this seems like it would work well. Introduce "Schlops Beer" on page 2, and on page 3, a mention of a "Schops Beer Girl" would hardly need additional explanation. –  Warren P Aug 2 '12 at 23:50
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In the UK, we have "promotion girls" or "promo girls" but that can range from promoting any brand from beer to motorcycles.

Certainly in the bars around town, you will usually see a number of them selling drinks, albeit usually shots of vodka, tequila, etc.

For example, here is an agency for such staff.

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+1. I remember the days of the Marlboro promo girls - they used to give out free packets of cigarettes and branded stuff in the bars and clubs back when I was a student. Its hard to imagine now, in a world where our personal freedoms seem to be disappearing faster than the rainforests or the glaciers at the poles. –  5arx Aug 2 '12 at 13:07
    
@5arx So is correct to call someone Budweiser promo girl? –  janoChen Aug 2 '12 at 13:59
    
I think so. It is worth mentioning that 'promo' is a shorter, informal form of 'promotion' - I would advise the use of the longer variant for formal documents. –  5arx Aug 2 '12 at 14:22
    
On reflection, the safest thing (non-sexist) would be to say 'she does promotions work for Budweiser' although that suggests a more desk-based job in Marketing or PR. –  5arx Aug 6 '12 at 10:15
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In my experience in the US, that just isn't something that is done. As such, we don't really have a commonly understood term for it.

The closest equivalent I can think of is the "boothbabes" that one tends to find at conventions promoting specific products. So if I had to come up with a term on the spot to an ignorant audience, I'd probably go with something like "boozebabe". Its a similar enough word to "boothbabe" that a lot of people would at least get the idea.

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Booth babes definitely is one of the places where this occurs often in the US (and Canada). While I have not seen a woman promoting a beverage in a bar in Canada or in the USA, I have seen promotional models in many places outside trade-shows. For example, at sports events (auto races especially), and downtown in large cities, or in tourist-favoured areas there are often young women (or men, but more often women) handing out free samples and wearing brand-inspired clothes while basically advertising for some product or brand. –  Warren P Aug 2 '12 at 23:53
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