Meet the finalists for Pornhub’s new creative director

Based on the caliber of finalists in Pornhub’s competition for its creative director, it seems the porn industry is no longer a haven for society’s castoffs. Somehow, it has become a space that attracts the creative interest of successful media minds near and far.

Pornhub — a pornography platform — put out a call in March for the company’s next creative director. Hopefuls were asked to submit safe-for-work creative for Pornhub’s first mainstream ad campaign. The pool of more than 1,200 entrants has been whittled down to 15 finalists, with creative ranging from potential TV spots to outdoor campaigns to print ads. Those interested can view and vote on the finalists here.

Digiday spoke with several of the submitters to see what motivated them to participate in the edgy ad contest, and any concerns they might have with working in porn.

Paul Livornese
Age: 51
Location: New York, NY..
Occupation: Creative director at Clear Channel Outdoor
Advertising experience: Extensive experience as a creative director, albeit mostly in publishing

Paul Livornese Pornhub submission

“It’s not always you have a chance to do a G-rated advertisement for a porn site,” Livornese told Digiday. Livornese, like most of the finalists who spoke with Digiday, entered the competition simply because he thought it’d be fun. Now, he’s found himself being seriously considered for the gig. (Livornese didn’t know he had been made a finalist when Digiday contacted him.) Created in conjunction with a former colleague of his at People magazine, Karla Moriarty, the ads are meant to appeal to both men and women.

Livornese has worked as art director at Playboy, People and Sports Illustrated and as creative director at Allure and GQ, among other places. Despite currently being gainfully employed as Clear Channel Outdoor’s creative director, he’s open to taking the Pornhob job if he wins. “If it was the right position and the right salary and it remains a G-rated piece, then sure.”

Khary Hobbs
Age: 31
Location: Detroit, Mich.
Occupation: Producer at a local TV station (he declined to say which)
Advertising experience: None

Khary Hobbs Pornhub submission

Unlike Livornese, Hobbs has been aggressively promoting his submission via Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr. Hobbs, who doesn’t have a marketing background, became aware of the competition via Facebook. “When I saw it, I said, ‘Hey, I can do that’,” he said.  Those lightbulb moments haven’t stopped. “Ever since I posted my first few submissions and became a finalist, I’ve been thinking of other ads I could do if they did give me that opportunity.”

What Hobbs really has going for him, other than his exuberance for the job, is that he lives the Pornhub brand. “I’m a human on the Internet, so [Pornhub is] not new to me at all,” he said.

Adrian Elton
Age: 42
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Occupation: Creative director at Adrian Elton Creative
Advertising experience: Nearly 20 years and an equally impressive portfolio

Adrian Elton pornhub submission

Elton also heard about the competition via a Facebook chat from his friend Grant Richard Krupp. “We had a laugh about it and then wondered whether we should actually enter it,” he said. “The brief to make a ‘safe-for-work’ ad about a very ‘not-safe-for-work’ topic such as porn, was all the fuel we needed to fire up the neural bunsen burners.”

Things took off quickly from there, with Elton, Krupp and a third partner, Adam Krongold, trying to ideate as many double entendres as possible. The levity betrays the serious “love yourself” message underlying the group’s submissions, though, Elton said.

While Elton recognized that some may look negatively upon porn-related work, he was not totally averse to taking the job were he to get the votes. “[Accepting the offer] would really depend on the nuts and bolts of the job,” he said. “And, critically, does the position include fluffers?”

Where are the aspiring female Pornhub creative directors?
Women were conspicuously absent from the group of 15 otherwise-diverse finalists. Cindy Gallop — founder of both ad agency Cindy Gallop LLC and progressive porn site MakeLoveNotPorn — said the dearth of female entrants was both a symptom and perpetuation of porn’s boys’ club culture.

“If you’re coming from a male-dominated environment, it gives the impression that women are not welcome,” she said. Which is unfortunate for Pornhub. Gallop said that when straight couples upload videos to her site, it’s typically because the woman in the relationship thought to do so.

“Pornhub had a fantastic opportunity here to open this up and understand women are a huge untapped market potential in the future of porn,” she said.

Below are a few of the other wittier entries in the contest.

watching nothing pornhub

PornHub “ALL YOU NEED IS A CONNECTION” from max sherman on Vimeo.

where are you getting off pornhub

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