Saturday, December 20, 2014

12326: Pornhub Sucks. No, Really.

Adweek published a fluff piece—or fluffer piece—hyping the marketing maneuvers of Pornhub. Not sure what’s inspiring the trade journal to promote the porn site in such a way. Perhaps Adweek reporters simply enjoy “researching” the subject matter. Regardless, there’s plenty of wrong thinking in the piece, and the stupidity is emanating from Pornhub and Adweek.

Adweek characterized Pornhub’s efforts as “unsleazy marketing” that pushes the brand. Sorry, but the lack of graphic, hardcore penetration visuals does not make Pornhub’s communications “unsleazy.” Need proof? Present Pornhub’s “unsleazy” bullshit in a church and you’ll be shunned. Show it to kids in a school and you may be arrested. Hell, most professional workplaces won’t allow Pornhub in the building—or even on employees’ computer screens.

Pornhub VP Corey Price is a huckster—and an ignorant one to boot. Price declared, “As our data shows, people all over the world watch porn—so why be ashamed of it? We want to push the conversation into the general public as something that’s acceptable to talk about, while letting people know that watching porn shouldn’t be an underground activity that’s to be seen as shameful. Everyone does it, why not just bring that out in the open? The reason it causes a stir is due to an already accepted set of social norms.” Um, perhaps Price should ask his customers why they’re ashamed to admit their watching habits. Also, the reason it causes a stir is due to laws both moral and legal. Let’s not forget that.

Adweek wrote, “You can see that transparency in the Pornhub team’s honest and informative Reddit AMA, its brilliant data analysis of how the Super Bowl affects porn viewership, its map of which countries ‘finish fastest’ or its rapid-fire response to a news station that accidentally tweeted a Pornhub link. In other words, Pornhub is doing modern branding as well as or better than the biggest brands out there.” The Pornhub team’s honest and informative Reddit AMA is nothing more than a sophomoric circle jerk, filled with obscenities and immaturity. Katie the Community Coordinator is hardly an example of transparency; indeed, the character is probably fictional. Calling the brand’s data analysis “brilliant” shows the Adweek writer is anything but. The writer’s dumbness is further demonstrated via the belief that “Pornhub is doing modern branding as well as or better than the biggest brands out there.” No, Pornhub is doing lowbrow guerrilla marketing organized by hackneyed degenerates.

As for the contention that Pornhub attracts mainstream advertisers, well, it just ain’t true. Take a look at the way prospective advertisers connect with Pornhub (depicted below). This is not a vehicle for mainstream or professional advertisers. Rather, it’s a place for adult bookstores, strip clubs and penis pump manufacturers to hawk their products and services.

Also curious is Pornhub’s lack of actual customer demographics. The brand displays information like “top search terms by state,” which doesn’t really offer value to the prospective mainstream advertiser. Why won’t the transparent Pornhub openly share specifics about the typical visitors?

If the Adweek editorial crew had an ounce of journalistic integrity or skills, they would have realized a natural, relevant angle might involve asking Cindy Gallop for a quote or two.

The Pornhub team is comprised of slick-talking amateurs. Looks as if Adweek is amateurish too.

Inside Pornhub’s Crusade to Tear Down the Taboos of Watching Sex Online

Can an adult site become a mainstream brand?

By Kristina Monllos

Even if you aren’t one of Pornhub’s 50 million daily visitors, you’ve probably heard the site’s name this year in a surprisingly safe-for-work context.

Maybe you read about its non-pornographic ad design contest, Times Square billboard, Arbor Day tree planting initiative or any of the other mainstream, unsleazy marketing pushes that the brand (and it most certainly is a brand) has used to expose itself to a wider audience.

“As our data shows, people all over the world watch porn—so why be ashamed of it?” said Corey Price, vp of Pornhub. “We want to push the conversation into the general public as something that’s acceptable to talk about, while letting people know that watching porn shouldn’t be an underground activity that’s to be seen as shameful. Everyone does it, why not just bring that out in the open? The reason it causes a stir is due to an already accepted set of social norms.”

In terms of the site’s broadening appeal and cultural relevance, the Pornhub team sees their site as “just another brand,” according to Price. But because it’s a site closely tied to the adult industry and all the stigmas that come with it, Pornhub has to be creative and mindful in how it positions itself.

“I don’t think any other adult site has taken the steps that we’ve taken as far as exposure and openness,” said Price. “I think that in itself separates us from most brands right off the bat.”

You can see that transparency in the Pornhub team’s honest and informative Reddit AMA, its brilliant data analysis of how the Super Bowl affects porn viewership, its map of which countries “finish fastest,” or its rapid-fire response to a news station that accidentally tweeted a Pornhub link.

In other words, Pornhub is doing modern branding as well as or better than the biggest brands out there.

They’ve even got cross-promotional deals and Hollywood product placements. The company struck a deal with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt to feature a few of its 3.5 million video clips in his porn-filled romantic comedy Don Jon. That’s part of the reason Don Jon—as well as another Joseph Gordon Levitt vehicle, Sin City 2—was one of the recent mainstream advertisers that the brand has attracted to the site. Adult-themed movies haven’t been the only ones interested in using the brand’s platform; California-based food delivery service Eat24 made headlines advertising on the site.

“Yes, it’s still taboo [to advertise on X-rated sites like Pornhub], but we’ve had several clients take advantage of our huge user base and competitive ad rates and see a huge gain from it,” Price said. “The overall mission of advertising is to get eyes on a product; we offer the ability to expose any brand to 50 million visitors.”

But a socially savvy marketing approach can only go so far. Much of the content featured on Pornhub, as on most adult sites, is overwhelmingly focused on male viewers, and sexual objectification of women is a frequent theme. Is Pornhub actually a different kind of porn site, or is it just the usual porn site but with a new style of packaging?

When asked about this issue, Pornhub points to its adoption of an amateur-uploaded content platform and a section of content aimed specifically at women, though many competing sites offer the same.

Ultimately the brand is a platform that, according to Price, offers many different types of content to appeal to many different types of users. “We make due with the tools we have to make sure we don’t discount any one group, gender or set of preferences,” Price said.

“Anything that takes most forms of sexual expression away from being perceived as dirty, or things like that, is something I support,” said Jennifer Baumgardner, activist and executive director of the Feminist Press.

But while it’s promising to see a brand that wants to “create more space for us to not feel ashamed about sexuality and sexual expressions,” Baumgardner said, it’s not yet clear whether a site like Pornhub can move the adult industry forward without retaining “all that’s wrong with the way we’re currently doing things.”

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