Learning Can Be Fun: Seminars, Parties a Hit at AVN Novelty Expo 2009

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif.—From how often and to whom to send a press release to creative ways to market your company or product, panelists for AVN Novelty Expo 2009 dished up some handy advice for attendees on Monday.

But it wasn’t all serious and studious work. The Screaming O presented the Sex Toy Prom, where guests could gaze at and mingle with the stars—figuratively and literally—in the Starview Room of the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City.

The first day of ANE 2009 kicked off with the “How to Get Mainstream Press” seminar, where Sue Procko of Sue Procko PR, Suki Dunham of OhMiBod, Scot Bartlett of Sue Procko PR, and Dave “Sex Toy Dave” Levine of CRV.com and SexToy.com offered up suggestions on how to get mainstream press, what constitutes mainstream press and how often to try.

Panelists suggested that audience members—whether they be buyers, retailers or manufacturers—familiarize themselves with all the print, TV and radio outlets in their areas, while also considering social networking outlets and other internet venues (including blogs) to put across their message.

“I treat the bloggers just as if they were someone from Cosmo or another major publication,” Dunham said.

Other tips included making your press release concise and to the point.

"Who, what when, where, why,” Procko instructed. “Many editors will only read the headline and the first paragraph, so make the headline catchy and include all the information in the first paragraph.”

Procko added to always be sure to include contact name and information in case reporters or editors want more information.

Similar messages were spread by panelists in the “Modern Marketing Marvels” seminar. Russell Taras of System JO, Keith Caggiano of The Screaming O and Tony Levine of Big Teaze Toys stressed the importance of branding, and making sure you know how to target the audience you want to reach with the message you want to send.

As the first day of seminars concluded (more are on tap for today and Wednesday in the Sheraton Universal Hotel) and the show floor closed, ANE 2009 attendees donned their party dresses and best duds for the Sex Toy Prom, dubbed “Fast Times at Sex Toy High,” courtesy of The Screaming O.

Around the bar on the top floor of the Sheraton Hotel, traditional prom decorations of balloons and glittering disco balls were peppered with adult touches, including blow-up dolls, cock ring giveaways and pretty girls in skimpy outfits.

Dennis Hof of the Bunny Ranch and Ron Jeremy were spotted chatted in one corner, presumably waiting for Hof’s fiancée, Heidi Fleiss, to arrive with a VH1 camera crew. (Fleiss is in the midst of taping the latest season of Sober House for the cable network.)

Also spotted in the crowd was former Oakland Raider and former Dancing With the Stars contestant Warren Sapp.

But it wasn’t just drinking and dancing. Mainstream movie clips featuring sex toys were sporadically broadcast on a screen above the dance floor, and couples, groups and solo attendees were offered the chance to play a little dress-up and have their prom picture taken to commemorate the evening.

ANE 2009 continues today through Wednesday at the Sheraton Universal and Hilton Los Angeles hotels in Universal City, Calif. For more information, visit AVNNoveltyExpo.com.