Is Marc Dorcel's Big Ad Win a Positive Bellwether for Adult?

PARIS — French adult entertainment studio Marc Dorcel has always set itself apart from most other studios by creating porn with a bit of flair and always at the cutting edge.

With its recent win at a major mainstream advertising competition, Marc Dorcel’s accomplishment may just be a bellwether signaling even more acceptance of the global adult industry.

Just last week, Marc Dorcel took home a Gold Lion award at the 62nd edition of the prestigious Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for its innovating “#Handsoff” marketing campaign.  

Awards are not uncommon in the incestuous adult space, but Marc Dorcel’s win is big by any standard. The fact that a hardcore porn company was even considered in the mainstream arena shouts the dawn of a new era.

And kudos needs to be given to Marc Dorcel for even submitting their campaign that teases the idea that good masturbation requires content worth paying for.

In fact, studio CEO Gregory Dorcel told XBIZ that more than 5 million people have already seen the “#Handsoff” ad via broadcast and social media.

XBIZ was curious as to how the campaign was created and who masterminded the marketing coup.

The CEO says the 35 year-old studio sees itself as a consumer brand and creates ads at least five times a year. Its mission is to change the image of the industry.

“Our brand is aimed to be recognized and appreciated by the largest audience possible,” Dorcel said.

This particular campaign was the first created in collaboration with the Marcel agency (Publicis Group) in Paris. Dorcel says because the company is such a well-established brand, many agencies actually come to them.

The studio asked the agency to work on a very specific topic and it was done well. Dorcel notes that his company lives by a strict ethic that pushes itself as an exception in the adult industry.

“That is definitely why we are the only company that collaborates with such well-known advertising agencies,” he said.

The partnership paid off. On the ad’s first day it was the leading trending topic in France for seven hours, had 13 million impressions with #SansLesMains [#Handsoff], saw website traffic increase 27 times, and added 50 subscribers to its website, according to the company.

“Honestly, we were positively really surprised that Cannes Lions had the courage to reward our ad,” Dorcel noted. “We are really happy we won this award of course, but this is once again really positive for our industry and us. And it is important to keep in mind that there were more than 37,000 campaigns in competition. They were all presented by the most famous international advertising agencies.”

Today, the studio is recognized for its technical innovations as well as for its advertising campaigns. Dorcel imparts the same work ethic to other companies, saying, “Obviously, this requires effort, seriousness and a reflection on all activities. Right now, very few companies in the adult industry are able to step up.”

As far as U.S. studios are concerned, Dorcel thinks it’s actually much easier for U.S. adult companies to bridge the mainstream gap thanks to the American culture of free speech and the First Amendment.

“I would say that U.S. adult companies should be a step beyond the European adult companies thanks to their culture,” he said.

The CEO also believes that as social media becomes more restrictive as to adult content, it’s becoming compulsory for the industry as a whole to collaborate with mainstream advertising agencies.

“100 percent of our communication is mainstream,” said Dorcel, intimating that other studios should follow suit with that kind of collaboration.