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All You Need Is Ad


How do you advertise for a company whose actual content can’t be shown?  Seems almost impossible… almost.

The website Pornhub figured it out when they launched a world-wide search this past March for the first ever non-pornographic ad. This tactic would allow Pornhub to reach an audience they have never come close to before. A SFW (safe-for-work) ad not only allows Pornhub to be featured on websites you visit daily, but it can also appear in magazines and on billboards.

The prize for this competition? Being named Pornhub’s first ever Creative Director. A pretty hefty prize for designing one ad, but incentive enough to bring in well over 3,000 different entries.

When the 15 finalists were released, the Internet and online media lit up over the family-friendly sexual innuendos. Pornhub had already gained the exposure they wanted and the campaign hadn’t even chosen a winner yet.   

They eventually choose a winner and purchased a prime billboard spot in Times Square. The ad, “All you need is hand” by Istanbul copywriter Nuri Galver, was unveiled on Wednesday, October 8th. To no one’s surprise, the same day the ad was removed from the billboard.  

So the question is, was it all worth it? I think so. Pornhub is being talked about by new audiences, consumer and media alike. Buzzfeed, Adweek and Business Insider are just a few of the more prestigious sites who wrote about the clever PR stunt.

The removal of the ad was apparently due to complaints by the general manager of the Hilton DoubleTree hotel in whose building it was mounted. Apparently the popular hotel chain didn’t like their brand being associated with Pornhub’s snarky new ad. 

Though they’re currently searching for a new high traffic location to post their billboard, Pornhub has already gained so much attention that increased site traffic must be worth the ROI. For an adult site, any publicity really is good publicity. What’s the worst you could say?

~ Sarah Yeager, Intern, The S3 Agency



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