Using Star Power

Stephen Yagielowicz
Branding and name recognition: The two go hand in hand. Sometimes the addition of a little extra name recognition can help with branding and increase sales, as anyone with the name "Jenna" on their product can attest to. But Jenna isn't the only star shining brightly...

XBiz World recently caught up with several of the leaders on the gay side of the industry to ask them "How crucial is star power to the success of your gay product?" Here's what they had to say:

"Falcon Studios has been responsible for developing some of the biggest stars in gay adult film history," said Terry Mahaffey, president of Conwest Resources/Falcon Studios. "Because the success of our products is driven by star power, we've taken an old Hollywood studio style approach when it comes to developing our models. Falcon wouldn't be where it is today if it weren't for the star power of our Exclusives. When you see a film that stars Matthew Rush or Josh Weston you know you're watching a Falcon film."

"PrideBucks sites feature mostly amateurs, so name recognition isn't necessarily an important factor for our members," offered Rainey Stricklin, Pridebucks' vice president of marketing. "Our audience is looking for hot, fresh faces, hard bodies and harder action. Most of our members quickly develop a favorite model and are happy to know they won't find him on dozens of other sites. Our content is unique and exclusive, and that's the bottom line with our audience."

"It is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your website or product has instant recognition," said Lisa Turner, the marketing and advertising administrator for "It is important to begin branding from the beginning, or as soon as possible. If you haven't begun the branding process yet, it's not too late. Start now and don't let up. For an online product or service, online branding should be first and foremost, closely followed by print advertising and direct consumer marketing. Put your product or website out there and be seen everywhere you can."

"This is the type of thing that will make or break my success. I have noticed that the more my name gets recognized, the more people are reaching out to have me be part of their websites, magazines or videos." said Buck Angel of Mr. Baddaddy Entertainment. "The name Buck Angel has now become synonymous with FTM porn, a completely new genre, which is incredibly exciting for me. People remember who I am now and when they talk about this particular type of porn they think of me and only me. You can't ask for better name recognition. That's why I've been working so hard to establish a quality product with my brand name."

While the comments of these industry leaders are focused on the approaches of the gay sites and shows that they produce and market, the principals discussed apply to all websites, publishers and content producers – straight or gay. The upshot is, that if your market wants "stars" instead of "amateurs" then you had better deliver "star power" if you want to succeed.