Two Cents: Shaving Private Ryan

24 January 2013

As you probably know, the porn industry is infamous for its XXX movies, distasteful content and seedy and manipulative websites. It’s a thriving billion dollar industry that is run by the “armpit” of society that find ways to exploit most who get involved. Yet, despite its shortfalls, this industry is a shitload better than we are at digital innovation.

Lets be honest. I watch porn and I am 99% sure you watch porn. Now that it’s all out on the table, let’s leave our judgment at the door and explore this topic like mature adults.

Going back to when the 56k modem was the iPad mini of its day, when I still had hope of growing facial hair and before Eiffel 65 dominated the dance floors, I actually believed I was the lucky millionth website visitor and had subsequently won a car – I gave them my details, the car never came.

Years later when I was older and nominally wiser, I actually believed there were “real” housewives in my area that were in fact interested in me - a 17-year old, still somewhat pre-pubescent, nerd.

Flash forward and while I may have the old interwebby thing down pat, just last Tuesday I almost (for a tiny millisecond) thought some smoking-hot chick named Candice was Skyping me.

Now, why can’t I get my clients to adopt new technology this quickly?

Being the thorough, methodical, process driven guy I am, I did more research into the topic.
Seriously, I researched the shit out of this topic. I gave everything I could to do as much research as humanly possible... feels so good to research.

Anyway I found out some interesting stuff. The following are some surprising contributions that the porn industry has either pioneered or been the first to adopt. Video downloads, electronic billing, digital rights management, pop-up ads, affiliate marketing, wireless content delivery, geo-location software and live streaming. It’s also one of the first media distributors to nail a successful paid subscription platform. It would appear that these proverbial armpits have had a greater effect on the mainstream digital media and advertising industry than you think.

The reality is that the porn world and our world are very different and I am definitely not here to support their approach. But I think there is something we can learn.

While there is much to be criticised around their approach to their to brand strategy – the successful implementation of so much new technology over the years is a great example of what happens when risk is eliminated from the picture - innovation thrives when you take the approach that you have nothing to lose.

Beyond this, and I think most importantly, the kind of advertising in and around porn makes more of an impact, not because we want to increase the size of our junk but because nowhere does creative match media and technology so perfectly. It’s an unfortunate truth but rarely would you get an advertiser's agencies working so closely together to such success. 

So here’s to an industry that knows its audience better than anyone. To an industry that has been able to flourish and reinvent itself consistently. To an industry that has half the skills of ours but triple the progression. Viva Eva Angelina.

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