Veronica Vain: A Porntrepreneur’s Twist on Product Placement

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Wall Streeter turned porn star” sounds better than “intern turned porn star.” That’s just the beginning of the marketing moxie behind the career of Veronica Vain (Paige Jennings) who, despite starring in only one feature porn film, has already achieved the status of full blown “porn star.”

Vain refers to herself as a “Porntrepreneur,” and her rocket ride to stardom has been well documented. A one time intern at Wall Street investment bank Lazard Asset Management, Vain famously was fired for posting dirty tweets from Lazard’s restrooms. (She insists they fired her after she quit.) She turned the attention into a tabloid-friendly backstory and soon she was the Wall Street intern who quit a potential six-figure career of trading stocks for trading in something that rhymes with stocks. The New York Post now has a dedicated Veronica Vain tag.

With Vain’s first film behind her, the star is turning to other porntrepreneurial projects. We reached Vain and asked her about product placement in porn, PornYourProduct.com and her industry “disruptor” BangBox.net which she calls “Vudu for porn.”

First, Vain says being a porntrepreneur is only about 20 percent porn. “I spend 60 percent of my time on business endeavors, 20 percent on social media and promotion for myself and 20 percent on actually shooting porn :),” Vain told us in an email interview.

Vain’s first act as a porntrepreneur was to bring classic Hollywood product placement to adult film. She accomplished this in her first film, Screwing Wall Street: Arrangement Finders IPO. The title is a nod to the service that paid for a big product placement in the film (at top). Arrangement Finders is a web service for young women looking to be matched with sugar daddies. Its now-unfortunate claim to fame is that it is owned by parent company Ashley Madison. (Ashley Madison has done product placement in mainstream entertainment before.)

Of the deal, Vain told LA Weekly in April: “I’m their demographic, the girl they want to sell to their user base — sexual, young, ambitious, decently eloquent and experienced with the lifestyle. I have had great experiences with sugar daddies in the past.” To Vain’s credit, Screwing Wall Street invests nearly seven minutes of exposition and investment banking talk before one blouse button is unbuttoned.

Her new product placement project goes beyond inserting a brand in a porn film, and instead builds the film around the brand partner and makes the brand’s name and product front and central in the plot. With adult toys her initial target, Vain’s first partner is sex toymaker PicoBong.

The film is titled Gaspaway and is a “funny and sexy parody of Cast Away.” (Packages delivered by FedSexx.) The film is available for streaming at porn site PornHub and the action features Picobong bestselling toys. The brand has recently released a NSFW behind-the-scenes video for Gaspaway with the stars talking about PicoBong products and how the film will “start a huge domino effect.” For its part, PicoBong says no brand has ever had produced a film this high profile.

Product placement in porn goes back decades. Fifteen years ago, before it was the mainstream fashion brand name it is today, Ecko Unlimited was product-placing in adult films. “We’ve had placement in other films, so why not porn?” Ecko’s head of marketing said in an adult film marketing profile in July 2000.

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PicoBong and other sex toy makers are obvious matches for adult film placements. But mainstream brands, though dabbling in the area as Ecko did years ago, have proven harder sells. In a 2008 Ad Age profile of how the Converse and Vans shoe brands were often product placed in alt porn, I asked fellow porntrepreneur Joanna Angel about the placements.

“They’re not only what I usually wear off-screen, they’re also what most of the girls on my website wear off-screen,” she said. For its part, Converse told me that it had “no plans to formally look into the use of its shoes in the content in any way” but had nothing to do with the placements. For the most part, this “wink wink, ask no questions” arrangement has been how porn product placement has worked. Even Ecko did not pay for its placements 15 years ago.

“I don’t think it’s that self-limiting,” Vain says about porn as an advertising media for more mainstream brands. “There are tons of vice products and products that depend on sexualizing the brand. Think alcohol, e-cigarettes, certain clothing brands, supplements and anything fitness related, etc.” Vain says she’s had some interest from these other kinds of brands, “but since the concept is kind of unproven I wanted to get out there what I had in mind that would work, and I focused on sex toys because that was most likely to get me a yes.”

To get more yeses, Vain launched PornYourProduct.com. The site is not subtle. Atop a background of cherry lip sticked lips wrapped around a banana, the service announces, “PORN SITES GET MORE VISITS EACH MONTH THAN NETFLIX, AMAZON, AND TWITTER… COMBINED.” The site functions as a kind of RFP form for brands that might be interested in, as it says, “the amazing untapped potential of advertising in pornography.” Just submit your contact info and the type of product and optional message you’re interested in placing, and the PYP team will get back to you with suggestions along the lines of Gaspaway or something else.

Veronica Vain

Until Gaspaway goes up on Pornhub, Vain has little to show potential future product placement partners. So for now her attention is on what she “my baby.” She explained her “new content platform” BangBox to us thusly:

“Not everyone wants an all you can eat subscription model like the vast majority of porn offers. Bangbox is basically a Vudu for porn, but with some freemium elements to help it succeed in the landscape of porn content distribution. We will have extensive personalization capabilities to enable people to more quickly find the content they like rather than sifting through tons of videos they’ve either already seen or would have no interest in as how the tube sites are currently set up. Further, we are getting the price point down to be more competitive with the vast array of free content out there.

[We] plan to give economics of scale to up and coming directors who want to make content a bit different than other studios are asking of them. We want them to make what they’re truly passionate about. Ultimately, it’s a way to mimic the success of freemium mobile apps by driving the consumer towards the impulse purchase. We focus on convenience, quality, and design first and foremost.”

Behind every porntrepreneur is a horny consumer and a porn star who’s eager to please. Vain says she couldn’t have done it without fellow adult stars Johnny and Kissa Sins, or without her fans.

BangBox.net is set to launch in October. As she waits in anticipation, Vain says “it remains to be seen” whether porn will sustain the level of support she has experienced so far. “I really expected a lot of hate and backlash, but people have been surprisingly supportive,” she says.


Click here for more interviews. Image at top via Veronica Vain/Instagram

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