AVN.COM RETAILING PROFILE 200605 - What's In Store: When the Stars Come Out, the Fans Will Follow

You might think you can’t afford to host a porn star for an in-store appearance, but industry insiders say that kind of stinkin’ thinkin’ is at your peril.

“It’s one leg of the marketing caterpillar — it’s definitely important,” Adella, director of public relations for Digital Playground, said. “The most successful retailers are eager to do it.”

Added Scott Hoover, publicist for Video Team/Metro and Extreme Associates: “I think [some of the smaller stores] can’t afford to not do [them] — especially with all of the online sites that provide adult rentals. You have to lure the customer out from behind the computer and into the store.”

Although common sense might dictate that in-stores should be scheduled later in the day, when 9-to-5 fans are off work,Nolan Williams, General Manager of Adam & Eve retail, said that events scheduled even as early as noon can be just as successful as later ones. Evening events might interfere with “family time,” Adella said, and Williams pointed out: “Most fans can get off [work] and get to the store.”

Those who do escape work to get to the porno signing are sure to appreciate the first rule of in-store promos: Get the star to the church on time.

“Many people take a work break [to come to the event] and will leave if the star isn't there,” said Williams.

Hoover, who has worked with Jenna Haze, Alexis Amore and Olivia O'Lovely on numerous in-store appearances, said that to be safe, “I prefer to arrive the evening before a signing to ensure we are at the event on time, and to have adequate time to promote the event in person.”

In addition to adequate prep time, retailers should have adequate product on hand — and not only whatever new release the company might be promoting.

“Some studios like to promote a particular title, especially if it is a hot new release featuring a new performer/contract star, or a ‘first time’ scene by a performer,” Hoover said but added, “But many times [fans] are interested in having the star sign their favorite video.It’s best for the retailer to have at least three titles [to] offer during the promotion. I have witnessed some fans buy the entire library of movies from a particular performer!”

Sex and the City

Your East Buttfuck store location could be a blessing, even if your ability to advertise adult events in your area is limited.

“Signings typically do very well in areas where adult entertainers usually don’t visit,” said Scott Stein, Zero Tolerance PR and marketing director. “In these areas it’s much more of an ‘event’ when we do come to town.”

Hoover agreed.

“Certain areas do draw more people to an appearance,” he said. “Los Angeles does not draw as well, because it’s not such big deal to see a porn star there. Just go to the grocery store or a nightclub on the weekend, and you will run into someone in the industry. … In Alaska last year [at] a signing, there was a huge turnout. Anywhere where it still comes off as a bit ‘taboo’ will draw a lot of people.”

Adella said that the particular city doesn’t necessarily dictate success, however: “The only difference … is the types of photos our stars are allowed to take [in ads] — topless, nude or clothed.”

Promo a go go

By now, your own grandma is probably on MySpace.com, a social networking site purchased by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp conglomerate. And so is every porn star.

“Sites like Myspace.com and Xpeeps.com enable you to reach out directly to the fans who visit the stars’ ‘page’ or Website.”

Despite being clenched in the conservative fist of the FOX News giant, Hoover said that MySpace is a great way to promote porno events. Stars and promoters can post a bulletin or blog about the appearance, effortlessly spurring word of mouth advertising — yes, for free.

Finally, don’t forget one thing the industry is well known for: proper etiquette.

“The only issues that have ever come up [for us] are, one: inappropriate behavior by managers and/or their friends,” Adella said. “It is absolutely unacceptable to grope or fondle the stars or expect them to perform ‘favors.’ And if your store and employees want autographs and photos with the stars, work them into the line throughout the signing. Do not wait until the signing is over and then expect the star to sign for an extra hour or two.”

A well-treated and well-promoted porn star is a happy porn star. Which means more money for you.