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Is online porn and food delivery a match made in marketing heaven?
Eat24's recent campaign shows porn is a great way to rev up appetites for takeout

It's not unusual in pornography for a pizza delivery guy to show up at just the right time with an "extra sausage deep dish." But in the real world, delivery food and sexy times do not blend as flawlessly. At least they didn't until Eat24, an online food delivery service, discovered pornographic websites and takeout go together like whips and fuzzy handcuffs. Since rolling out carefully crafted banner ads on porn sites a few weeks ago, Eat24 has seen instant spikes in traffic and sales.

Amir Eisenstein, CMO of Eat24, says the company began wondering about advertising on porn sites when they noticed that they had a decent Twitter following among adult film stars, including Daisy Lynn, Tara Lynn Foxx, and Tera Patrick (who alone has over 110,000 followers). Eisenstein says the adult film fandom "got us thinking about maybe venturing into this niche. We've always been looking for unique advertising opportunities."

Still, before diving headfirst into the world of porn, Eat24 investigated the potential return on investment (ROI) and cost per impression (CPI). In a report titled "How to Advertise on a Porn Website," Eat24 explains, "It's an eternal quest to find the perfect ad platform with really high traffic, and dirt cheap inventory. Basically a unicorn."

But, porn actually is "the Internet's unicorn." Beyond the fact that "30 percent of all web traffic is dedicated to porn," the sites themselves bring "high traffic with cheap ad space." There's a stigma to advertising on them, so it really, really doesn't cost a lot.

And shocker, Americans really like frequenting porn websites, a trend that spans across ages, regions, and sex (two thirds of men versus one third of women say they watch porn, but the numbers for both are still significant). Forty million Americans alone are regular visitors. "As far as the demographic, pretty much everyone goes to porn sites, so you can always find your audience there," says Eisenstein.

Overall, Eat24 calculated that it could get more impressions at porn sites than at Google, Facebook, and Twitter combined at roughly one tenth of the cost. Moreover, almost no one except other porn sites were advertising on them (a mere 1 percent were for live cams and male enhancement pills). As the only nonsexual service featured on adult film sites, Eat24 realized that "porn advertising is an untapped market."

But it wasn't just the numbers. Eat24 wanted ads that "make a connection between the pleasure you feel when eating a bacon double cheeseburger and the pleasure of having sex." So, they created their own food pornography: a big piece of salmon sushi dangling over a woman's open red lips with the words "eat me" and a giant hoagie sandwich with the words "I want to be inside you."

Unsurprisingly, Eat24 discovered ads were most successful placed next to the porn video itself, creating subliminal messages in customers' heads as they watched — and enjoyed in other ways — the footage. And actually, watching porn does go hand in hand with takeout. "After they're done with the video, they've worked up an appetite," Eat24's report says. "It's the perfect time to remind them to wash their hands and order a large pizza with extra bacon for delivery."

Almost instantly after launching its porn campaign, Eat24 noticed a major increase in traffic and customers. Even better, 90 percent of the traffic generated by the ads on adult sites was from new customers.

And Eat24 has discovered that porn-watching customers are the best kind of customers. Perhaps because they are drained from their self-love workout, they order a lot of food. In fact, 90 percent order a full meal from Eat24: appetizer, main course, drink, and dessert.

Eisenstein is less surprised that the porn campaign has been successful than the openly positive reaction to it. "When I put an ad on TV, people come to me. When it's porn, I don't expect people to say, 'Oh, I saw your ad last night online,'" he says. "We weren't sure people would take it the same way we do."

With great numbers and feedback from just a few weeks of ads, Eat24 plans to keep serving the online porn market. Harder and harder.

Emily Shire is chief researcher for The Week magazine. She has written about pop culture, religion, and women and gender issues at publications including Slate, The Forward, and Jewcy.

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