Porn packs the house in Cannes

By Paul McIntyre | 18 June 2012
Cindy Gallop

The Debussy Theatre was unusually packed for the first Sunday of the week-long Cannes Lions Festival but the seminar headline said it all – 'Culture Shocks: Porn, Youth and Brands'.
 
The founder and CEO of TextAppeal and former chairman of BBH New York, Cindy Gallop, came out firing, first with an avalanche of sex-laden TV ads from around the world which included Skittles confectionary in Italy being used to mimic the final moments of sex.  Later, Gallop stood up and smacked the advertising industry fair between the eyes.

Not only did Gallop publicly declare she viewed porn, but also that she spent plenty of her time with men much younger than her. But it wasn’t going to stop her waging war on male and female stereotypes and how adland needed to move on.

“I date younger men,” Gallop roared from the stage. “They tend to be in their 20s and through dating younger men I encountered very directly and personally the real ramifications of the creeping ubiquity of hardcore pornography in our culture. We now have, and I can personally testify, an entire generation growing up believing that what you see with hardcore porn is the way that you have sex. This is exacerbated because we all have sex but we never talk about it.”

Gallop then went on, without naming names, to rip apart corporate PR people, company chairmen and boards for refusing to allow a number of marketers to sit on stage and discuss how advertising, marketing and packaging exploits stereotypes to sell product. She also unveiled a new project, makelovenotporn.tv as a social media project.

“This is the same single biggest issue our industry never talks about,” Gallop told delegates. “Our original plan was to have this be a panel of senior brand marketers to discuss this issue. I wanted a number of brand marketers,  who are also good friends of mine,  by the way, to be part of this panel. Every single one of them really wanted to be in. I’m not going to name any names. The reason they are not here today is because their boards, their chairmen and corporate PR people disagreed and would not allow them to speak.”

So Gallop took up the baton herself to bluntly challenge what advertising has done for decades – use sex to sell.  

“So the new creativity is about moving beyond stereotypes,” she told her captive, and sometimes squirming, audience. “Our industry depends on stereotypes, and by the way, I have absolutely championed stereotypes in the past because when you have to communicate in 30 seconds, or in a print ad, very, very quickly, then you have to use shorthand. But we have continued to cling to stereotypes way beyond the time they have outlived their usefulness.”

Gallop beseeched Cannes delegates to support her social media project , makelovenotporn.tv,  which launches in two weeks and aims to do what Hugh Heffner did decades ago and “bring sex out in the open”.

Stay tuned. More to follow on this provocative yet timely debate from AdNews.

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