Tag Archives: Brands

Porn, That’s SFW

It’s 2017, and I’m drunk on a rainy night in Nolita, NY. The glow of its black and orange logo is shining in my face. I squint for a moment as I think my eyes have deceived me. I wipe the raindrops off my face to get a better look. No, it’s real? Pornhub has opened a New York clothing boutique. I go inside to get out of the rain and for my curiosity. My expectations of an empty store with maybe a few curious tourists and single men with such a strong cologne scent that it could burn out my retinas, is wrong. I am wrong.

What I found was a store full of young, affluent Millennials purchasing branded bucket hats and hoodies. I said to myself, “this will not last; it’s just a fad, like skinny jeans.” I purchase my branded t-shirt, leave, to never think about it again…  

That was until Shakedown arrived in 2020. An award-winning documentary by LA director Leilah Weinraub. The film captures the cultural shifts within an underground lesbian club over several years.

And guess what? It was streamed for free on Pornhub as the platform’s first non-pornographic feature. 

Traditional NSFW brands are now producing and housing SFW content. This is not a fad; it’s the future. 

OnlyFans, often cited as the “Patreon for porn,” is now home to one of my favourite podcasts. And it’s non-porn related. The pod’s primary subject matter is a dumpster fire of a reality TV show, 90DaysFiancé. *Maybe it’s a bad habit, but I tend to fast forward to find the best bits.* 

If you’re too afraid to ask your friends and loved ones, what is OnlyFans? It began as a creator-first platform used by comedians and fitness models to help monetize their craft. But now, it’s widely known as a platform for personal, indie, uncensored adult content. Or, as I like to call it, good home cooking. 

So, why are porn sites now the best places to release non-porn content? First, we need to look at the consumer.

Traditionally Millennials have been hesitant to pay for news and entertainment but are willing (more than Gen X or Baby Boomers) to pay top dollar for experiences. A report by the Global Web Index found that millennials care less about finding a low price and are more willing than other generations to pay a premium for convenience, immediacy, and content they care for. Corey Price, vice president of Pornhub, reports that millennials make up 55% of his site’s free users but 66% of its premium users. 

While our mothers and fathers were wearing disguises trying to purchase their marital aids in unmarked, brown paper bags, Millennials and Gen Zs are out in the open. We have helped rub out many of the stigmas around porn and sex work. From the mainstream reporting of former Disney Star Bella Thorn, who earned two million dollars in the first week of starting an Only Fans page, to the TikTok trend of pretending to be “An Accountant.” It’s more than ok to talk about porn and sex work online in a positive way.

Millennials and Gen Z also actively search for porn; a joint Google and Columbia University study found between 2005-2014 that porn sites consist of about 4% of the internet. But also about 20% of all searches on mobiles. *A healthy reminder to disinfect your phone.*

So, you have an active Millennial audience willing to be open, positive and pay for premium experiences. And who are regularly visiting porn sites; why not offer them tailored SFW content. It makes sense. 

Dropping a new album, showing your limited run of couture dresses, crafting an entertaining and engaging blog; don’t expect people to be excited on the traditional media platforms. Come and release it on porn.

History suggests that marketing is always a few steps behind culture, but you’re telling me that a banner ad on the Toronto Star will ever compete with a sponsored post on Pornhub; I think not. 

Culture is shifting; porn platforms are progressing, and marketing (like always) will have to catch up.

Hell Raisers: What Can Brands Learn from Dancing with the Devil?

Just over a week ago, Lil Nas X graced us with his presence in the Twitterverse to premier his new single – now gay anthem – “MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name)”. The song itself is what a lot of music is about: love. However, the video is what blew up our feeds and had everyone from your Aunt Karen to Nike talking about it. 

The video is a crystal-encrusted Missy Elliott (via ‘Work It’) inspired nod to the story of Lucifer and his infamous fall from heaven. The scenes from the video depict Lil Nas X in the role of Lucifer ascending down a stripper pole on his way to hell. Spoiler: he lands on the lap of the devil, seduces him (and all of us) and ultimately takes his place on the throne of Hell. The film is fun, sexy, wild entertainment…And yes, set a bomb off on the internet. 

Maybe we on the Mint Strategy team had a case of Baader-Meinhof. Maybe it was the Silicon Valley algorithm gods creating our fate. But after watching “MONTERO,” the devil started showing up everywhere:

Okay, so why is the devil so hot right now in western culture, and what does that mean – if anything – for brands?

“Satan is a symbol of rebellion against blind faith”
– Penny Lane, Director, dope ass human 

We started at the beginning: who is Lucifer and what has his role been in society after he became Satan? And most importantly, why is this relevant today? 

What we found: 

We found that Satan is THE OG rebel. It’s quite possible that the devil invented ‘punk’*. Satan was and continues to be “a symbol of rebellion against blind faith” as director Penny Lane puts it. And, oh boy, if 2020 – 2021 has shown us anything, it’s that we, collectively, are embracing the best parts of hellish-rebellion. 

2020 forced us to look at what we’ve been blindly faithful to—systems,  institutions, status quos and expectations—and question ourselves to reflect on who we’ve been and what could/should change. The result has been continuous acts of ‘rebellion’ that shift societal thinking. 

For the first time in a long time, society is continually supporting trans-rights, the national acknowledgement of missing and murdered indigenous women, the cries for the abolishment of racist systems beyond the US and putting a bright spotlight on the climate crisis.
We are continuing to question and challenge the world as it is and rebelling against blind faith. 

Stunning. Good job, society. Love that for us! 

Why it matters: 

Do brands have a part to play in society’s rebellion? The short answer: hell yes.

Now we don’t think sticking devil horns on everything in your next campaign is necessarily the move, unless you’re Match.com, or Dirt Devil, but we do think what society and Satan’s trying to tell us about the value of active rebellion against blind faith is something brands should at least think about. 

It’s actually pretty simple if you think about it, it’s what we as strategists and marketers should always be doing: 

Listen up to what’s happening around you

Reflect on it (don’t just blindly follow)  

And then, rebel.

Brands these days are made to lead. Or, as the devil would say, raise a little Hell.

*we don’t actually have any evidence that Satan invented punk, we just thought it was a cool way to describe rebellion, don’t @ us.