The Future of Porn at SXSW? Cindy Gallop on how a world of hardcore pornography has distorted the way a generation think about sex

Screen shot 2013-03-10 at 4.46.33 PM.jpgBy Alison Ray at SXSW

Day two certainly started with a whimper, not a bang. The whimper being emitted from my tired and jet lagged (possibly slightly hungover) body as I hauled it out of bed, and onto the shuttle downtown (after 45 min wait - see blog rant from yesterday re: shuttle and accommodation).

The talk today was of Al Gore's keynote on the topic of the Future. Which sounded amazing, and was apparently both very inspiring and very hard to get into.

I wouldn't know personally, as at that very time I was settling in to listen to Cindy Gallop (above) give her keynote address on The Future of Porn. Being an agency lifer, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see the woman who had won Advertising Woman of the Year, given one of the most controversial TEDTalks ever, as well as being our industry's answer to Anna Wintour.
As Gallop tweeted today "At 3.30pm today, don't do @algore, do me. As it were". How could I say no?

Gallop, with a very honest commentary on her own sexual experiences, talked about a world of hardcore pornography that had distorted the way a generation think about sex.  Launching her website MakeLoveNotPorn in 2009 at TED, she aims to show the different between porn and real life sex. The things that everyone knows, and nobody ever speaks about.

It's easy enough to write off this session as insignificant and to an extent voyeuristic. But Gallop spoke about the social message she is helping to promote. While normal porn never features any type of contraception, MakeLoveNotPorn.tv holds a competition asking people to actively compete to find creative ideas for awkward condom moments. The impact - increased condom use, reduced STDs, reduced teen pregnancy. You get the picture.

The implications of crowd sourcing this type of content, and the legal and privacy implications drew a lot of comments from the crowd. With users charged to submit, rent and 50% of all rental income raised going back to the video creator, Gallop is creating a new community of "porn" stars who are willing to share their content.

ALISON-RAY-web.jpgWith a background in digital strategy, the part I liked most was the UX learnings they found along the way. Especially with such a content topic, UX becomes highly important. MLNP's online voting system was specifically designed to allow users to rate with one one hand. Based on the insight that your other hand may be busy while consuming this type of content, they worked this into the site experience.

The thing for me about this session was the woman herself. Inspiring, passionate, and after almost 30 years in advertising using her experience to give something back. With the crowd in the palm of her hand from her opening sentence, we all got to see someone at the top of their game talking about a project they are passionate about.

That's the reason I came to SXSW. Not the porn, but to walk away inspired by the people and ideas. To get a taste, or just to see the woman in action, try Gallop's TEDTalk.

Alison Ray (above), is planning director at The Brand Agency Perth. She is reporting exclusively from SXSW for Campaign Brief.

1 Comments

Ally Kelly said:

Loving the commentary ARay. Congrats.

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