How Adult Creators Are Building Fruitful Bonds With Pleasure Brands

How Adult Creators Are Building Fruitful Bonds With Pleasure Brands

Whether fantasizing about having sex with adult stars or having sex like adult stars, fans will always be tempted by pleasure products endorsed by their favorite performers — and today that includes independent content creators who are stars on social media, camming and subscription platforms. Trendsetters in their own right, these sexy influencers are helping to make sex toys more mainstream.

There are many reasons why pleasure product manufacturers and retailers team up with today’s hottest stars. As brand ambassadors, performers’ popularity translates into sales for the companies they promote, while increasing exposure for themselves.

Personalized products, including reproductions of stars’ body parts created using a special molding process, sell briskly both in brick-and-mortar stores and online, thanks to millions of followers craving an intimate experience with their favorite personalities. Pioneering pleasure products manufacturer Doc Johnson is credited with being the first to mold adult stars, in the early 1980s. According to Chad Braverman, Doc Johnson’s chief operating officer and chief creative officer, among the first stars to be molded were Barbara Dare and John Holmes. In more recent years, Doc Johnson was likewise among the first to tap into the power of social media influencers, with the debut of its Girls of Social Media subcollection under its Main Squeeze line.

“The entire catalog of people that we work with currently is extremely popular, and sometimes we identify an up-and-coming performer’s popularity before they blow up,” Braverman says. “Now more than ever, especially with OnlyFans and all the other platforms out there where all types of content creators are welcomed, it’s important to make sure that our product range is well-rounded and inclusive because our customers come from all walks of life too.”

In addition to partnering with manufacturers to create products in their likeness, today’s business-savvy stars are taking on executive roles and serving as spokespeople for pleasure brands and retailers, driving more customers to their stores and online shops.

Famed creator and past XBIZ Female Performer of the Year Dani Daniels is not new to the pleasure products world. She was molded for Doc Johnson’s Main Squeeze line of masturbators, and Evolved Novelties’ Zero Tolerance collection pairs a Dani Daniels stroker with her videos. Along with reigning XBIZ Female Performer of the Year and longtime industry influencer Cherie DeVille, she is also an equity partner and brand ambassador of Lovgun, maker of therapy massage guns that can be paired with its assortment of different attachments.

“Lovgun, as a sex toy brand, seamlessly aligns with adult performers, making it a natural partnership,” Daniels says. “Both Cherie and I boast substantial social followings and embrace a sex-positive ethos. This collaboration allows the company to tap into a preexisting audience actively seeking adult-oriented brands, thereby reaping significant benefits.”

When it comes to pleasure products, Daniels notes, adult stars have an advantage over mainstream influencers.

“We have the unique opportunity to connect with our fans in a more explicit manner,” she says. “Given that we are already promoting sexuality, introducing sex toys to our audience becomes a natural and seamless transition. Our fans readily embrace these products, making it an effortless venture to market and sell sex toys to our dedicated following.”

Devin Shanahan, CEO of The Oh Club, agrees that partnering with adult stars makes sense for manufacturers, citing the power of social media to catapult brand awareness.

“Adult stars and popular online content creators often have a large and engaged fan base,” Shanahan says. “By partnering with them, a brand can tap into their existing audience, reaching a wider demographic and potentially gaining exposure to new customers. This can help increase the brand’s visibility and expand its reach. Depending on the brand and its target audience, partnering with adult stars or online content creators may enhance its credibility and authenticity within specific niches. If the brand aligns with the values and interests of these individuals’ fan bases, the association can create a positive impression and establish a sense of trust.”

The Oh Club recently brought reigning and twice-crowned XBIZ Male Performer of the Year Seth Gamble on board as chief strategy officer. In his new role, Gamble will formulate, facilitate and communicate the company’s strategic initiatives and future goals.

“Seth has been working in the adult entertainment industry for 17 years, is an innovator within the space, has won countless awards and has contributed his talents to thousands of projects,” Shanahan says. “His vision and experience are priceless and will surely allow him to guide the brand in the right direction. We also recently collaborated with Lumi Ray and Mina Luxx on an upcoming ad campaign.”

Fleshlight has been partnering with adult stars for decades, molding its Fleshlight Girls and Fleshjack Boys range of strokers from their bodies. The company recently debuted its Fleshjack Stars line, featuring products from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” stars Manila Luzon, Heidi N Closet and Willam. Jasmine James, the company’s business development and talent manager, describes what has kept the brand at the top of its game for so long.

“Our partnerships play a significant role in amplifying our brand’s popularity and credibility,” she says. “As industry leaders, developing and maintaining relationships with top adult stars is essential in expanding Fleshlight’s reach and visibility to new and diverse audiences, specifically on social media. Our ambassadors generally have a powerful online presence and have cultivated a fan base of loyal consumers. These partnerships allow us to tap into these audiences to promote and highlight the quality of the brand and our products.”

Kate Kozlova, U.S. regional sales manager for Amsterdam-based Kiiroo, a pioneer in the interactive toys category since 2013, says collaborating with talented creators in the adult space has always been crucial to the company’s prosperity.

“We learned very early on that leveraging fan bases that are not our usual target demographic is a great way to broaden our reach around the world,” Kozlova shares. “As influencer marketing continues to gain popularity across all industries, we see models’ fan bases trust their opinions, their products and their endorsements. Not to forget that the models are also encouraged by their affiliates and royalty payouts. So, it is a win-win situation for both us and them.”

Kiiroo’s line of adult star-branded products continues to expand.

“Currently we have 21 Feel Stars strokers, with the collection growing steadily every few months,” she says. “Our B2B clients have praised our collection for being well curated and appealing to many different audiences.”

Kiiroo’s affiliation with adult stars, however, goes beyond just crafting realistic interactive products.

“Aside from our Feel Stars collection of personalized strokers, we work with adult entertainers as influencers,” Kozlova continues. “They are adult content creators, webcammers and social media stars. Not only do these models use our products on cam to use the tipping features, but they also promote our products on cam, using their affiliate links to encourage their audience to purchase products that can connect to their videos and livestreams using our AI technology, FeelMe AI. They are also active on social media doing SFW and NSFW reviews that really excite users to want to buy our products.”

Buck Angel, noted trans performer, has become involved in the pleasure products industry not just as a recognizable face, but also in a key role in the design of products that serve his community and beyond. Most recently co-founder of adult products company Demon Kat, he sees clear advantages to working with adult influencers.

“Partnering with an adult star gives a bit of a boost for visibility to another group of people: their fans,” Angel says. “The other great thing is that we know this person actually has sex and specifically, if they are part of a marginalized community like trans/gay/LGBTQ+, it gives a bit more authenticity to that product.”

In an era when consumers are increasingly skeptical of traditional advertising, they often seek out authentic recommendations from people they trust. Sexy creators, with their loyal and engaged followings, can serve as trusted sources of information for their followers.

Adult performer Lexi Luna has seen firsthand how effective a strong connection with her fan base can be when it comes to moving product. Not only does she run her own retail site, but a full-body replica of Luna, manufactured by Sex Doll Canada, retails online at LexiLunaDoll.com.

“When the doll came out, fans were very excited,” she recalls. “Some of my loyal fans on SextPanther, LoyalFans and OnlyFans bought it on day one and would call or video with me while with the doll! Another fan commissioned a custom video featuring the doll.”

Meanwhile, to drive business to her online store, ShopLexiLuna.com, Luna says she relies solely on organic traffic from her fans.

“We don’t buy traffic; we advertise on social media mostly,” she says. “Once we found a payment processor willing to work with us, we were able to set up the store and make frequent sales. As long as performers are willing to promote their stores and treat it like a business with good customer service shipping times, it’s a great way to diversify revenue streams.”

Let’s Make a Deal

When stars’ tastes and interests match manufacturers’ products, they often become brand ambassadors, speaking on behalf of those companies online and in person, and representing them via their social media channels.

According to Shanahan, The Oh Club has specific criteria for choosing brand ambassadors.

“It’s crucial to ensure that the adult star or creator aligns with the brand’s values, mission and image,” Shanahan says. “Their personal brand and public persona should resonate well with the brand’s identity to maintain consistency and authenticity. We analyze the demographics, interests and preferences of their followers to determine if they align with our brand’s desired customer base. The more overlap there is, the more likely the partnership will be effective in reaching and engaging the target audience.”

Braverman describes Doc Johnson’s method of choosing collaborators as a “proprietary algorithm” of various qualifications, including engagement, mainstream popularity and social media followers.

“It helps us to take all that stuff into consideration, to help paint the picture of how popular someone is or how popular we think they could be,” he notes. “The other part is meeting with the talent and making sure that their goals align with ours and that there’s a synergy between us.”

Of course, it’s not only about what the brand ambassador can offer the company. The reverse is also important. In the case of The Oh Club, Shanahan adds, ensuring that the creator’s association with the brand remains mutually beneficial means first establishing easy communication to discuss mutual goal alignment, support and close collaboration. The Oh Club also gives creators product samples, marketing material, sneak peeks, a consistent point of contact and financial compensation.

James says Fleshlight’s process of turning new models into brand ambassadors includes a number of steps.

“We start with educating our ambassadors on the company’s products, brand values and messaging,” she explains. “Next, we will make sure an ambassador has marketing materials, product and brand guidelines, and that we are providing ongoing support and communication. Performance tracking and feedback are also extremely important, so we make sure we are providing these specific metrics to ambassadors to ensure growth happens with each campaign.

“There is a vast pool of beautiful and talented models in the industry but as a premier brand, we do like to keep model collaborations exclusive, so we do narrow it down year-round by looking for specific qualities,” James adds. “We look for alignment with our brand values, we examine a creator’s engagement/reach, and personality also plays a part.”

Kozlova stresses the importance of establishing a tightknit relationship with potential brand representatives.

“Of course, meeting with these brand ambassadors and product influencers in person solidifies potential associations with the companies,” she says. “When I meet brand ambassadors/influencers at trade shows who align with our brand mission, I make sure to introduce them to our marketing team in order to take the partnerships to the next level. As a company we are very open to brand collaborations and innovative ideas that come from our users and influencers. It’s always great to have some outside inspiration.”

Kiiroo features many different models as brand ambassadors, extending its reach with a multipronged, multichannel approach.

“With most of our models, we do loads of social media campaigns, takeovers, Q&As, podcasts, and we also work with models to understand how best to leverage their NSFW audiences through promotional activations on their NSFW livestreams and platforms. We also leverage SFW and NSFW reviews from our brand ambassadors. We’ve had great successes with NSFW product unboxings, first reactions to seeing the models’ moldings or even people using their products online.”

Sexy Strategizing

Working with stars allows pleasure brands to explore new and innovative ways to showcase their products. These influencers are often open to creative collaborations, such as creating exclusive content and hosting events. This can lead to unique marketing campaigns that drive consumer interest.

Daniels notes that there are multiple ways for stars and creators to leverage their strong social media presence to promote a brand.

“They can create sponsored posts, share branded content or conduct giveaways on their social media platforms,” she says. “This allows them to reach their followers directly and generate awareness and interest in the brand. They can collaborate with the brand to create unique and engaging content. This can include photo shoots, videos, blog posts or even livestreaming sessions where they showcase or discuss the brand’s products or services. This content can be shared on their own platforms or featured on the brand’s website or social media channels.”

According to James, Fleshlight develops new campaigns and promotional activities annually, to engage ambassadors while promoting the brand and its products.

“We provide opportunities for creative photo shoots, video content, birthday promotions, holiday promotions and much more,” she says. “We continue to examine ways to engage our ambassadors in exciting new marketing initiatives.”

Of course, there’s nothing like IRL experiences where adult stars can meet their fans to promote themselves as well as the brands.

“Adult stars and creators can make appearances at events, trade shows or promotional activities organized by the brand,” Daniels says. “They can meet fans, sign autographs and participate in panel discussions or Q&A sessions. Their presence can help generate excitement and draw attention to the brand.”

Daniels notes that between her wide fan base and Cherie DeVille’s, Lovgun has been able to establish an international presence and connect with their ambassadors’ core audience: men between the ages of 18 and 45.

That relationship also illustrates the range of options companies and creators have when choosing how involved to be with one another based on their needs and preferences.

“By becoming partners, we are not solely influencers, but integral contributors to the company’s success,” Daniels says. “Similar to how Nike partnered with Michael Jordan, Lovgun has granted us the privilege of being more than just a paid spokesperson. We now have a vested interest in every sale and triumph, allowing us to reap the benefits of our hard work and dedication.”

Maintaining Fleshlight’s long-term partnerships, James says, starts with “a shared vision and clearly outlined goals, so everyone is on the same page from day one.”

“Also, communication is key,” she continues. “We make sure to invest time and effort into all our partnerships so that we not only know them on a business level but on a personal level as well. We also make sure to provide relevant updates and encourage partners to share their feedback. And it is important to remain adaptable because businesses/industries evolve over time and so do partnerships.”

Buck Angel has his own thoughts on sustaining brand awareness via solid relationships with creators.

“Give the star the control since they know their audience, and give them whatever they need to support the message, including product and photos,” he advises. “But really, just letting the star do their thing, and trusting they know their audience, will make a huge difference for the company, benefiting both the star and the product line.”

James says that Fleshlight prides itself on collaborating with “premier partners and adult stars/creators in the industry,” and will continue to roll out more partnerships.

“We’ve worked with various YouTubers such as Mista GG and Cherdleys,” she notes. “We have plans to expand our partnerships with podcasters, and we just launched Kazumi as our newest Fleshlight Girl. We have a lot more planned for the year and are thrilled to continue building and maintaining relationships with creators in every industry.”

Influence Ignition

In today’s digital landscape, brands and retailers are constantly seeking new ways to connect with their target audience online and drive sales. While some brands are collaborating with adult stars and sexy content creators on products and bringing them on board in executive roles, others in the industry are tapping into them as social media influencers to increase their visibility and reach a wider audience, ultimately driving more traffic and potential customers to their products or services.

Palm Springs-based online retailer Gear Leather recently signed on famed gay performer Devin Franco to promote the brand.

“We approached Devin as a potential partner because he has a sizable social media reach among several demographics that are attracted to our store’s products but not yet shopping with us,” Gear Leather Marketing Director Ken Blochowski says. “We hope to build awareness about the company, increase our social media reach and drive new online sales.”

Adam Claflin, CEO and owner of Alaska-based retailer She Always Comes First, notes that not only has his business partnered with both adult stars and influencers from outside the industry, but on some occasions those influencers later transitioned to the adult biz.

“With She Always Comes First, we actually help promote OnlyFans creators when they sign on with our brand ambassador program,” he explains.

Jessie Olsen, affiliate manager of the Love Shop Toys, a retail chain with stores in London and Toronto, boasts a roster of over 150 cam girls, OnlyFans creators and models who are brand ambassadors and create promotional content for the chain on a monthly basis. Olsen discussed the mutually beneficial relationship..

“We’ve grown an amazing community of cam creators and spicy influencers over the last couple of years,” she says. “The most exciting part of working with a brand ambassador group like this is collaboration opportunities. Our influencers provide assets featuring multiple creators in the same shoots. We’ve helped to expand their networks, which means more people in the same rooms talking about us and our brand. We want to be top of mind for those who work with us, and that comes down to both creating amazing toys and fostering a successful and warm community atmosphere.”

Lubricant brand JO also has established an affiliate program where adult content creators can promote JO products to their fanbase and earn commissions on sales as well as free products.

“We understand the dynamic relationship between adult content creators and their fans,” JO Regional Manager Timothy J Ferencz said. “If fans see content creators using a certain adult product, it's more likely that they will use that same product.”

Ferencz describes the adult content creators’ fan base as being more loyal compared to mainstream influencers.

“Their fans have followed their adult careers from the start, whether it was DVDs, streaming, camming or solos,” he said.

Lulu Batista, sexpert and owner of online shop OohLuluCherryBox.com, says that she’s had sexy influencers refer their fans to her e-tail site to purchase items that they can then watch being used during cam shows and video interactions.

“I think it’s great to partner with them,” she says. “I have a few that I work with and their work sends a lot of new customers to my website and social media every day. I hope to work with more adult stars in the future and build fun and engaging workshops with them.”

Retailers and distributors don’t have to collaborate with adult stars directly to recognize the draw of sexy influencers. Distributors such as Nalpac proudly supply adult star-branded products to retailers. Phoebe Grott, Nalpac’s director of marketing and strategic partnership, says the distributor offers a range of collab products and performer-molded/licensed toys from boutique and traditional brands.

“One of the most popular is Doc Johnson’s Main Squeeze,” Grott says. “In fact, this line was one of the first to offer strokers in a range of representational colors to match the performers’ skin tones. When other manufacturers were making a case for only one color due to sales, retailers stocked the Main Squeeze line to support the demand from customers for more inclusive material colors.”

Blanca Estrada-Gonzalez, senior sales account executive for lingerie brands Magic Silk and Male Power, favors taking a focused approach to influencer partnerships.

“In today’s social media-driven marketplace, the appropriateness and effectiveness of such partnerships depend on the brand’s target audience, values and industry,” she says. “Partnering with these individuals can help a brand establish a more relatable and human image, enhancing its credibility and fostering a sense of trust among consumers. This edginess can generate buzz and make the brand stand out from its competitors.”

Because sexy influencers often have a finger on the pulse of what’s trending, their endorsement can make a brand appear more relevant and modern by capitalizing on pop culture, while also breaking taboos and pushing boundaries. For this reason, Estrada-Gonzalez also urges brands to carefully consider their objectives, brand identity and the potential risks, such as backlash from conservative followers.

Claflin calls partnering with adult content creators “the route to go” and “worth it,” noting that OnlyFans and social media have made such strategies more acceptable.

“Working with some influencers can be expensive,” he says. “But I have learned that if you have proper agreements and you’re both willing to work together, it can help build both of your brands.”

Grott believes that online content creators and cam models have changed both the format of adult content and the definition of an “adult star.”

“The performers’ direct interactions with their fan base on social platforms have cultivated a greater acceptance and normalization of adult content consumption, creating a turnkey demographic for licensing and endorsements,” she says. “The content side being our close cousins, these collaborations reflect the shared customer base. Adult stars can have stronger brand recognition than adult product brands in the marketplace, and when executed thoughtfully and with investment from talent, these products see a lot of success in retail stores.”

Batista also believes that partnering with creators builds credibility for the retailers and products that they promote online.

“Their presence on social media is so big that anything they post or talk about will spark interest in their followers,” she says.

Grott agrees, calling TikTok trends and performer-endorsed brands a great method of connecting with new audiences and crediting them with making the use of pleasure products “so much more acceptable and normalized than ever before.”

Given current social media dynamics, Olsen sees sexy content creators’ power to capture and maintain audiences’ attention as invaluable.

“People are forming parasocial relationships with online influencers and podcasters,” she points out. “Whether or not we realize it, we’re drinking the same drinks as them, we pick up phrases and ideas, we shop where they shop. Social media users see ads and product recommendations all the time. The key to making it through the noise is to speak to your audience through someone they trust. And who do you trust more than someone who consistently gets you off?”

Brett Hanzel, CEO of Traditions Global Distribution, sees potential for influencers to make a difference beyond just commerce. He offers particular praise for adult stars who “publicly advocate for healthy, consensual sexual expression, as well as body positivity.”

“They can help to break down stigma and promote a more open and accepting attitude towards sexuality,” he says. “By using their platform to promote these values, adult stars can help to create a culture that celebrates sexual pleasure and embraces the diversity of human sexuality.”

Similarly, Estrada-Gonzalez believes that adult stars and sexy influencers who come from diverse backgrounds and embody various body types can help showcase different beauty standards.

“When collaborating with adult stars, it’s essential for lingerie brands to ensure that the partnerships are based on mutual consent, respect, and shared values,” she says. “Brands should be mindful of maintaining ethical practices and transparent communication to preserve the integrity of their message and the well-being of all involved parties.

“By partnering with adult stars, lingerie brands can celebrate body diversity and encourage individuals to feel confident and sexy, regardless of their size or shape,” she elaborates. “They challenge traditional beauty standards and norms by embracing their unique features and individuality. They often demonstrate that sexiness and confidence come in various forms. By collaborating with adult stars, lingerie brands can challenge beauty stereotypes and promote the idea that everyone deserves to feel desirable and comfortable in their own skin.”

Additionally, Estrada-Gonzalez notes, creators who are comfortable expressing themselves and their sexuality on camera can inspire fans to do the same, embracing their own desires and exploring their own sexuality.

“They are often at the forefront of conversations about sex and sexual pleasure,” she adds. “They contribute to breaking down stigmas and taboos surrounding sexuality. By associating with adult stars, lingerie brands can help normalize discussions about sex, pleasure and intimacy. This can create a more open and accepting culture where individuals feel more comfortable exploring their desires and seeking out lingerie that enhances their experiences. Many adult stars prioritize consent, respect and agency in their work. By partnering with adult stars who emphasize these values, brands can align themselves with promoting healthy relationships and respectful sexual encounters.”

Partnering with famed personalities offers numerous benefits for brands and retailers, from increased visibility and enhanced brand image to improved customer engagement and targeted marketing. By working with stars and creators to leverage that unique appeal and influence, businesses can reach new heights in their marketing efforts and ultimately boost their bottom line, while also encouraging more pleasure for all.

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