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Posts Tagged ‘Brian Gross’

PR and Porn Part 4: Joanna Angel, Superstar

In yesterday’s third chapter of our week-long “PR and Porn” series, performer/producer Joanna Angel described her entry into the adult entertainment industry and the events that inspired her to dedicate her career to her company, Burning Angel Entertainment.

Today, she discusses some very old-school PR techniques that she used expand her brand in a challenging market.

After Joanna attended her first AVN Expo in Las Vegas in 2004, she made a few key decisions:

“I decided I wanted to be one of those big studios, but I wanted to do it my way. I wanted to show people what I thought was sexy– so I went home and made it happen.”

How did Joanna promote her company in its infancy?

“We didn’t have the money to do big ad campaigns or market research like real businesses, so we reached out to friends and fans and had them hand out stickers and flyers wherever they went–it was real ‘grassroots’ marketing. I grew up in the punk scene, where people help each other out, and I posted stuff all over MySpace, Friendster and all the punk and hardcore message boards. Friends who ran little record labels put our ads on their sites. I tried to get our name out in whatever avenues were either free or affordable.”

Burning Angel’s PR efforts slowly grew more organized.

“I got to know all the New York party promoters I could, and we helped each other out. Every good party needs hot girls, so I brought my girls to events, we’d dance and have fun, and the promoters would put the Burning Angel name on their flyers and banners. We still do that today.”

“We pay very little for advertising. Our whole marketing strategy is really based on trading favors.”

Her first big move was producing the company’s debut full-length DVD.

“Something about putting out a DVD, a physical product, lit a fire under my ass. We started to get more press–someone wrote about us in the New York Times, then we started getting calls from Hustler and other big magazines and setting up meetings with big distributors. We were on the map.”

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PR and Porn Part 3: Joanna Angel, the Amateur

In the first two chapters of our week-long “PR and Porn” series, we spoke to top publicist Brian Gross about how he made his way in the industry and how his current job fits within the wide and colorful world of public relations. 

Today we are very fortunate to bring you the first part of our conversation with one of the most compelling personalities in the adult entertainment industry: performer, producer, director and Burning Angel Entertainment CEO Joanna Angel.

Like Brian Gross, Joanna Angel–a New Jersey native who grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home–didn’t simply wake up one day with grand plans to shake up the adult entertainment industry. In her own words, it was “a bit of an accident—an experiment.”

In his senior year at Rutgers, Joanna’s roommate/business partner Mitch Fontaine noticed that the world of adult entertainment was a bit…monochromatic. Where was the porn for those brave souls who didn’t care for spray-tanned, fake-breasted starlets? Joanna explains:

“My roommate brought up the idea. I knew nothing about porn, sales or web design…I was an English major. But it was like a fire in my brain went off when he said ‘lets start a porn site’, and it drove me to want to turn it into something.”

After a little technical prep and creative brainstorming, their site, Burning Angel, went live.

“When it started, a lot people (my friends, my family) said ‘What the f**k did you just do?’ I remember thinking, I have two choices right now: Either take it down, move on and never speak of it again, or make it the coolest site ever.”

“That’s how it started. The stigma against porn drove me to succeed.”

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PR and Porn Part 2: The Insider

In yesterday’s first chapter of our week-long series “PR and Porn,” we introduced you to Brian Gross: PR pro, agency founder and one of the top publicists currently working in the adult entertainment industry.

Today Brian goes into greater detail about how the industry runs—and points us toward one of his most unique and successful clients.

You may have wondered how the adult film industry looks from the inside. When asked who wields the real power in the business, Brian says:

“It’s definitely the producers—the heads of companies like Adam and Eve, publishers like Larry Flynt at Hustler, etc. You have leaders like John Stagliano of Evil Angel, who almost went to prison for defending his first amendment rights as an artist. Then you have female entrepreneurs like Allison Vivas of Pink Visual who has made her name in the mobile world as well as the production world (Ed. Allison has quite an interesting bio).”

“As a publicist, you find very passionate people in every industry and you cling to them, because you’re excited by their energy and what they’ve accomplished.”

Many of these power brokers, however, have watched in horror over the past few years as the Internet dramatically changed their business model. What began as a huge new revenue stream quickly turned into a nightmare due to an explosion of torrenting and streaming sites. As Brian says, many producers have “had to figure out how to monetize in different ways”, just like the music industry did in the days of Napster.

Copyright infringement is a tough challenge to fight, but Brian notes that “Plenty of people are still doing quite well. The strength of brand and content and marketing prowess is what will make the difference between successful and struggling companies.”

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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.”

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