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PR and Porn Part 1: The Publicist

Brian Gross, founder and CEO of BSG PRThis week PRNewser is glad to bring you a something a little…different.

Our first five-part series will deal with the PR and communications aspects of an industry often underrepresented at trade shows and conferences: The business of adult entertainment, colloquially known as erotica, smut, blue movies, or just plain porn.

Brian Gross is a consummate professional who plays many roles: founder and CEO of BSG PR, former choirboy with nary a tattoo in sight, dedicated heavy metal enthusiast…and one of the top publicists in the world of X-rated entertainment.  

Today and tomorrow we’ll bring you some of Brian’s insights on working as a representative in one of the world’s more colorful businesses. Then we will present a three-part interview with one of his top clients—a self-made woman who describes in depth the route she took from college English major to the top of the porn pyramid, playing the roles of performer, producer, director, and CEO while remaking a big corner of the industry in her own image.

Brian Gross didn’t just wake up one day and decide to pursue a career in the adult film industry. It all started when he got what we can accurately describe as a dream gig for any red-blooded American boy—promoting rock and roll bands. In his own words:

“I literally started from the ground up. I took an internship with this incredible publicity department at Def American Records when I was 17 years old–and I still have relationships with many of the people I met there today. (Ed. Note the importance of connections.) That led to a job working with the Lollapalooza tour, which led to another job,” and Brian was off and running, representing some of the biggest names in rock.

After taking a short-lived stab at the college life, Brian eventually landed at Elektra Records, where he specialized in publicizing west coast tours by high school heroes like Metallica and Pantera. In the middle of this demanding gig, Brian’s career took a bit of a left turn:

“I got a call from a good friend of mine who was the publicist at Vivid Entertainment, and he was moving to work on the Internet division. I was also close to the brother of the head of the company, and they both recommended me. I was 23 at the time, and when approached with the opportunity to be the head of PR and marketing for the largest adult entertainment company, I only had one question: Why not?”

The move from rock to porn felt natural—and the difference between the industries wasn’t so great, either.

“At its core, it’s all entertainment. To a certain extent, the reality is this: rock star, porn star, what’s the difference? Both are adored–in some of the same crowds.”

Some of Brian’s projects for Vivid involved winning mainstream visibility for the company’s starlets—he secured an appearance by contract Vivid Girl Janine on the cover of pop-punk band Blink 182’s 1999 album Enema of the State and an opportunity for upcoming stars Raylene and Kobe Tai to work as backup dancers during Kid Rock’s 2000 Grammy Awards performance.

When asked to outline his media relations, he notes:

“There isn’t a publication out there that hasn’t done something editorially in regards to the adult film industry, so I go for mainstream coverage when it fits. But I work extensively with industry-specific media outlets like Adult Video News (best known for sponsoring the yearly AVN Expo in Las Vegas) as well as trade mags like XBiz and more traditional publications like Hustler, Playboy and Penthouse.”

He also says that “A lot of blogs and websites are looking to put up as much editorial content as possible on sexuality and the adult industry, so I look to fill that void for them and get my clients noticed in the right media. I have always taken pride in being very aggressive as a publicist–starting as early as possible, developing quality relationships and keeping in constant contact with all media that want to work with my clients.”

Brian’s career has taken him to every corner of the business. “I’m proudly all over the place. I’ve represented individuals, large companies, film productions– There really isn’t a facet of the business that I haven’t worked in one capacity or another.”

“And I’ve brought the same professional attitude and nature to clientele that I work with in the adult industry that I bring to musicians and businesses I’ve worked with. I treat all aspects of my work the same.”

Brian receives negative feedback “less often than you’d think. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. What’s most important is the conversation itself. As long as people are talking about sexuality, the adult film industry, and all things in between, that’s whats most important.”

Tomorrow we’ll bring you Brian’s thoughts on the inner workings and future manifestations of the adult film industry.

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