Pornhub Raises Stakes With Diesel Ad Campaign

LOS ANGELES—The Pornhub network entered new territory this year, aligning with fashion giant Diesel for an ad campaign that upped the ante for mainstream crossover endeavors.

The series of Diesel ad banners that started running on Pornhub and sister site YouPorn on Jan. 25 will culminate on Valentine’s Day this Sunday.

In a deal orchestrated by Karll Cloutier, head of business development for TrafficJunky, the online ad network that powers Pornhub, Diesel took over the home pages of Pornhub and YouPorn with advertising skins and a companion banner as well as mobile banners promoting its new line of underwear.

Pornhub Sales Director Sebastien Galina, in the company's first interview about the campaign, said the initiative is the first of its kind for adult teaming with a blue-chip mainstream brand.

“It’s huge for us,” Galina told AVN. “Diesel’s willingness to launch their ad campaign— the first mainstream campaign by a globally recognized brand—on our platform represents a major shift in the way large brands perceive the power of our platform.

“Essentially, this is validation of the value our site’s built-in audience brings to the table for companies looking to get their exposure in a way that’s completely ‘against the grain,’ while also capturing the eyeballs of a key demographic that advertisers want to hit: the coveted 18-34 age range.”

Diesel, which is based in Breganze, Italy, has become a billion-dollar retail clothing empire that specializes in denim wear but also makes high-end leather jackets, dresses, glasses, watches and numerous other products. The brand is also notorious for its provocative and often surreal ad campaigns.

“For us, we're a sexy brand," Nicola Formichetti, Diesel's creative director, told i-D in January. “To support the launch of our underwear line, we're going to be the first brand to ever advertise on Grindr and we're the first fashion brand to be working with Pornhub, too.”

Even though Pornhub has enjoyed mainstream media penetration with some of its creative analytics detailing porn consumption habits, the Diesel deal is a coup by any measure.

“We see this as being among the top initiatives we’ve had the pleasure of being a part of, and that’s because of the power that Diesel’s brand brings with it in terms of sheer global awareness,” Galina said. “Aligning itself with Pornhub feels like a validation of everything we’ve been doing on the marketing front for the last few years. It means that our push to become a recognized brand is something that the industry has taken notice of. This campaign breaks the barriers of the ‘taboo’ in a lot of ways and shows that aligning yourself with an adult platform shouldn’t be feared.”

Galina said Pornhub's marketing strategy is geared toward gaining mainstream traction.

“I’d say that the success comes from our approach. We’ve made it a point to continually defy user expectations and the public’s perception at large with every single initiative we put out,” he continued. “It’s important that the message behind our marketing strategies (whether that’s launching a record label, a philanthropic division, a mainstream ad campaign, etc.) adheres to a tone that allows people to engage with the brand while looking past the ‘adult’ connotation; to freely talk about how they’re enjoying the content we’re putting out while also taking note that many of our initiatives come from a place of authenticity.”

Pornhub at press time was ranked 65th in the world in traffic on alexa.com, while YouPorn occupied the 178th spot, leaving little question about Diesel’s potential for exposure, Galina noted.

“With TrafficJunky, we have a well-oiled system, where any type of targeting is available with stats easily available,” he said. “We are also compatible with mainstream types of trackers, and we provide the same service to them as to any adult companies.

“The key is to have good processes in place, and then it is easily applicable to any type of clients. Professionalism, transparency and good customer service works for every client.”