Marketing for Change: Smashing Stereotypes & Shaping Culture

Published on
March 12, 2024

Episode Description:

Marketing and advertising shape people’s attitudes, mindsets and behaviour. Yet, the advertising industry has historically relied on stereotypes. Cindy Gallop, Founder of MakeLoveNotPorn, challenges marketers to reinvent what is aspirational, and use marketing as a lever to lead a positive change in society.

Key Takeaways:

  • How aspirational culture created in adland is failing society
  • How marketers can break down stereotypes and mould culture positively (and make money)
  • How male-dominated ad strategies miss the mark on women's needs
  • What Cindy is most proud of so far in her career
  • How MakeLoveNotPorn is changing sexual stereotypes and attitudes

Listen now on Smarter Marketer

The definitive podcast for Australian marketers.


James Lawrence

James Lawrence

Host, Smarter Marketer
Cindy Gallop

About the Guest:

Cindy Gallop is a branding, advertising and marketing expert with over 30 years of industry experience. She launched the US office of ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York and was named Advertising Woman of the Year in 2003. She has also been recognised as one of the 15 Most Important Marketing Strategy Thinkers Today by Business Insider. She is the Founder of MakeLoveNotPorn, a platform designed to promote good sexual behaviour. 

Related links:

Cindy Gallop on The Own It Podcast

Invest in MakeLoveNotPorn

Follow Cindy on LinkedIn

Podcast Summary: Marketing for Change - Smashing Stereotypes & Shaping Culture

Marketing and advertising legend, Cindy Gallop chats about aspirational culture created by advertising, challenging stereotypes and using marketing for positive change in society.

The advertising industry holds the power to aspire and inspire - everything you feel about a thing, a brand, a company, or a well-known person is influenced by marketing. Cindy believes that as marketers and advertisers, we can use this influence to shape people’s attitudes, mindsets, and behaviours, making a positive change in society.

Aspirational marketing must be reinvented for good

For a very long time, the advertising industry has been focused on creating aspirations fueled by materialism. But what if ‘aspiration’ meant something more than the dream of a lifestyle of luxury, status, and wealth that we falsely need to achieve? Cindy believes that the advertising industry has the power to reinvent what is aspirational i.e. make consumers want things that are genuinely good for them and can improve their lives. 

Our industry works with existing stereotypes as it makes the creative process for ads easier. For example, historically, we have perpetuated the stereotype of a man as the ‘strong, confident breadwinner’ and a woman as the ‘caring, nurturing homemaker’. Cindy challenges advertisers to reinvent an aspirational relationship role model of today i.e. showcase a partnership of equals to challenge this stereotype. If men were consistently celebrated as caregivers in ads, would we start considering this normal - to the point where it’s no longer a divisive topic of discussion?

Cindy shares an example of reinvented aspirational marketing in action as one of the Chairs of a Campaign Review Committee of an agency. In this position, they review the ad strategy, the creative concept of the ad, and the rough cuts before post-production. In one such instance, like many instances, Cindy and her team asked the creative agency to ‘flip the genders’ in the script so that the ‘girl is on the football field with the dad’ and the ‘boy is in the kitchen with the mum’. It’s a small change in the script, but a clear example of how agencies tend to lean into stereotypes.

More women in advertising may be the answer

Cindy shares that women are the primary purchasers and influencers of purchases of most consumer products, yet most of the direction of the advertising industry is dominated by men. She talks about the car market in the USA where women have held more driver's licenses than men, and buy more new cars than men. However, the automotive industry still largely ignores this to target their ads, CRM, and dealerships to focus on men. 

Cindy believes that the male-dominated leadership in the industry needs to hire brilliant, talented women to combat these issues in advertising. At this point, less than 1% of agency owners in the United States are women

A rising number of women and people of colour are changing the meaning of an ‘agency’, as they bring a fresh take on common societal themes, according to Cindy. Ad campaigns have now started to reflect more balanced perspectives and push positive ideas that benefit people and society as a whole.

About Cindy’s proudest initiative - MakeLoveNotPorn

MakeLoveNotPorn is a website that showcases user-generated content by real partners and couples, with the goal of changing the narrative around what good sex is. The platform embraces the idea of communication in the bedroom, setting and respecting boundaries, and valuing consent. By creating a platform that celebrates sex as a shared, enjoyable experience, the platform not only subverts the false ideas about good sex promoted by porn sites, but also makes consensual sex ‘aspirational’. If you wish to contribute towards building the go-to hub for sex positivity and education, check out Cindy’s Wefunder.

If you think your advertising strategy needs a fresh approach, Rocket can help. Get in touch or call 1300 059 620.


James Lawrence: Welcome back to the Smarter Marketer podcast. I'm joined today by Cindy Gallop. Cindy, welcome to the pod.

Cindy Gallop: Thank you. Thrilled to be here.

James Lawrence: And I'm very excited for you to be here. So for those that haven't heard of Cindy, which I think will not be the majority of the audience, Cindy has over 30 years experience in brand building, marketing, and advertising.

She set up the U. S. office of our agency, Bartle, Bogle, Hegarty in New York in 1998. 2003, she was named Advertising Woman of the Year. Business Insider named her as one of the 15 most important marketing strategy thinkers in the world. She's the founder of Make Love Not Porn and If We Ran the World. Cindy, you are a renowned public speaker.

Um, I was lucky enough to be in the audience at South by Southwest last year where you were an absolute standout and had the entire auditorium kind of just captivated for the, for the hour. From that, I had the courage to reach out and ask Cindy to appear on the pod. She said yes, and I thought, excellent.

And. I think that I'd like to use that as the starting point, I guess, for the discussion. And you started that presentation by talking about aspiration, I guess, and what that word means and what it doesn't mean. And I think how us in marketing and advertising have almost started that concept, and you've kind of challenged the notion in many levels.

Uh, maybe we could start with aspiration and, and what it means.

Cindy Gallop: Um, yeah. Um, basically. James, you know, this is a concept that I've been talking to our industry about for many years, but I'm delighted to talk about it here because it's about time someone bloody well did something about it. And I'm not seeing that happen in the way that it should.

So I've been exhorting our industry for years to reinvent aspirational culture. And I've been doing that because as an industry, we invented aspiration. We made people want things. But the things we made people want originally were material things. So we made you aspire to the right watch, the right car, the right house.

We have a huge opportunity today to reinvent what is aspirational around things that will actually enormously benefit consumers and improve their lives. And because of that, we'll not unconstantly Sell a shit ton more product and make more money.

James Lawrence: I think that was the title of the presentation.

Cindy Gallop: Yeah, exactly.

And so, you know, I'll give you one example of what I mean. Our industry deals in stereotypes. And there's a very good practical reason for that because stereotypes are very useful creative shorthand. You know, when you only have 30 seconds to communicate, you know, stereotypes accelerate the storytelling process.

What that means is that we have perpetuated the stereotype of the heteronormative marriage slash, slash relationship as man as strong, confident breadwinner and woman as warm, caring, nurturing homemaker. You know, what I've been asking industry to do for years is I want to see us reinvent aspiration around the aspirational relationship role model of today, which is a partnership of equals because today both halves of a couple.

And by the way, that is whatever gender the couple is, both halves of the couple work because you have to, because the economy that requires new forms of negotiation as to who does the housework, who does the childcare. What happens when one half of the couple earns more than the other? What happens when one half of the couple has a job and the other one doesn't?

We have a huge opportunity to reflect the world as it really is, but within that, to make people want things that will really improve their lives. Because right now, you know, there are many men out there who are house husbands. who want to stay home and take care of the children are in a situation where their wife or their partner is, you know, the bigger breadwinner.

And so it makes sense that, you know, they, they would, they would divide the roles differently to the stereotype. And yet, those men are still looked down upon by other men and also by women. Imagine if being a house husband, being a stay at home father, was enormously aspirational, was celebrated as such, and held up as something that every man should aspire to.

That would make such a dramatic difference in men's lives and in women's lives as well. Um, so that's just, just one example of what I mean. But there are many, many opportunities to reinvent aspirational culture. There are many things that will make us all a great deal happier.

James Lawrence: Yeah. And I think one of the takeaways from the presentation was aspiration or aspirational just means better.

And I think because of the way that the industry Was built and kind of started. I think we've almost connotated that to be luxury and wealth and status and all of those things where we are when if you talk about aspiration, I think we traditionally would think of those things as opposed to more practically what helps make.

Our lives better, right? And I think advertising marketing, obviously it can mirror society, but can also, it can mirror a version of society or perspective society, but it also leads us in many ways, right? We are so shaped and impacted by the way that things are presented.

Cindy Gallop: No, James, absolutely. Because, you know, what we do is an enormously powerful force in popular culture.

Yeah, we absolutely have the power to shape people's attitudes, mindsets, and behavior. And You know, I find that often we do not think consciously enough about the fact that we can do that and the really interesting and beneficial ways in which we can do that. Off the point I just made about the aspirational relationship role model of today.

One of the things I do is, um, here in the U. S. I'm one of three chairs, um, at a non profit called the Ad Council.

And the Ad Council basically, um, is responsible for those famous public service announcement campaigns you've seen come out of the, you know, um, mine's a terrible thing to waste, this is your brain on drugs.

And, and the Ad Council brokers, um, basically the relationship between, you know, the cause and the non profit, the brands that underwrite these campaigns and the advertising agencies that create them pro bono. And so I am, um, as I said, one of three chairs of the Ad Council. Uh, basically campaign review committees and the other two is Susan Cradle, who's the global chief creative officer of FCB and um, Margaret Johnson of Goodby.

And, and, and we work with teams of people in the ad industry to review these campaigns at the strategy stage to make sure the strategy is great, at the creative concept stage to make sure the work is great, and then the rough cuts, almost finished stage to make sure execution is great. The number of times I've had to do something like this is extraordinary, but A very well known large agency created a campaign and presented it.

My CRC critiqued it, but at the end of it, I said to them, can you do one more thing? This is incredibly easy to do. It won't cost anything budget wise and the client will not have a problem with it, but in the two TV scripts you've just presented to us, please flip the genders. Put the girl on the football field with dad and put the boy in the kitchen with mom Literally, they presented two spreads one of which had the girl in the kitchen with mom and the other one Had the boy on the football field with dad And I said, you know It makes no odds, you know, there are no budget implications, the client will be fine, just, it's such a tiny thing, flip those genders, and, and, you know, there was that agency leaning into the stereotypes, yet again.

James Lawrence: I think the reality is, like we saw it with the Women's World Cup last year in Australia, and England winning it, like it's, and the explosion of women's football. Since it, but also leading into it and yeah, like I'll sit there and bake cookies with my boys and even if that isn't true, it should be true, right?

And we can have a rolling. Yeah,

Cindy Gallop: yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah. And this is just lazy

James Lawrence: James.

Cindy Gallop: It was just, you know, lazy thinking and lazy creativity

James Lawrence: and great creative. should trigger an emotional response, right? And it should kind of make us feel a certain way. And for that campaign, it's more likely to succeed if it actually does show something different to what every other campaign has shown for the last 50 years.

So it kind of feels that's, yeah, lazy is the word, right? Like better outcome. And challenging, challenging the norm of advertising, but probably not challenging the norm that is in society now.

Cindy Gallop: And, and I think it's important in this context to actually, um, James, just bring up the anecdote I shared at South by [00:09:00] Southwest Sydney in, in the context of this particular aspect of reinventing aspirational culture, because I shared with the audience the fact that some years ago, uh, Pete Favatt, um, who was the chairman of Deutsche LA has now retired.

But, um, he wrote a blog post for a blog called The Five Percent, which was for men to express points of view. Um, he wrote a blog post, um, which was called Men Can Be Nurturers Too. In this post, he told the story of how many, many years ago his first marriage failed. Um, he was non specific, but his wife obviously had some issues.

He went to court to try and get full custody of his two children. The judge in family court refused. And he quoted the judge saying to him, Your job, Mr. Favatt, is to make money. Women are nurturers. Men are not. She basically gave full custody of the kids to his wife and said, and your job is to be the breadwinner.

And, you know, Pete goes on in this post to recount how there was some kind of hideous episode. He's non civic, but the police were called. And they said to him, you have to take these children. And we will come to court with you and tell the judge why they have to be in your custody. And so they did. Pete got full custody of the children.

You know this story is many years ago. He said, you know, the children are happy healthy grown He's on his second marriage very happy, but he ends the post by saying I'm all for equality in all things, but damn it men can be nurturers too. I have proof Pete for that had spent his entire career overseeing All male or predominantly male creative departments that churned out script after print ad after outdoor poster that perpetuated the stereotype of the man as the strong, confident breadwinner and the woman as the warm, caring, nurturing homemaker.

What we do in our industry has ramifications for our own happiness as much as for consumers.

James Lawrence: It just does. Do you feel it's changing?

Cindy Gallop: Um, frankly, no. No. Um, and the reason I say that is because it's not changing within the industry. I think it's impossible to change within the industry and it's absolutely changing outside the industry.

What I mean by that is, first of all James, the reason that nothing is changing within our industry is because is because at the top of our industry sits a closed loop of white guys talking to white guys about other white guys. Those white guys are sitting very pretty. They've got their enormous salaries, their big pools of stock options, their huge bonuses, their lavish expense accounts.

Why on earth would they ever want to rock a boat? They have to talk diversity. They have to appoint Chief Diversity Officers, they have to have diversity initiatives, they have to use the word diversity a lot, especially in public. Secretly, deep down inside, they don't want to change a thing because the system is working just fine for them as it currently is.

It's like your joke about the lightbulb. How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb? only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change. And in our industry, the light bulb does not really want to change. Because the enormous irony, James, is that the primary target of our industry is women.

wWe are the primary purchasers of everything, and the primary influences of purchase of everything. By the way, in sectors traditionally thought to be male. I can't cite the Australian stats on this. But I can tell you that here in America, For many years, more women have held driver's licenses than men, you know, more women are driving than men in the all important, you know, millennial now Gen Z car buying market, the majority of first time new car purchases are women.

And that's really important because obviously that's where car mark preferences are set.

James Lawrence: Yeah, yeah.

Cindy Gallop: Who is the automotive industry still targeting their ads, their dealerships, their CRM, and their product design apps? That's the problem right there.

James Lawrence: And, like, how does it change? Because you'd look at that logically and rationally and go, like, commercially, if that's where the market is, you want Target that market and do it effectively and get young girls to buy your, you know, your, your car in the category versus your competitor.

So like, how do you see it changing?

Cindy Gallop: It's very simple. It's very simple, James. There's just one thing that needs to happen. Powerful white men in our industry hire into equal power with you brilliant women you feel threatened by. That's what has to happen.

James Lawrence: And will it?

Cindy Gallop: You tell me.

James Lawrence: I'd hope, I'd like to think so.

Cindy Gallop: Here in the U S, um, and again, you know, apologize to our listeners for the fact that, you know, I'm only able to cite, um, US statistics, but, but, but I mentioned this one because I think it's highly likely. That Australia reflects this as well. Here in the US only 1% of all advertising agencies are owned and founded by women.

And a wonderful woman. Um, Christie Hyer is out to change that. She is the founder and owner of an agency called Corect, and she launched a podcast called Own It, which I highly recommend that our listeners go to. At the last count, there were 70 episodes where. In each episode, Christy has interviewed a different female business owner in our industry, um, including myself.

And actually, I highly recommend our listeners go to the Own It podcast and listen to my episode.

James Lawrence: Awesome.

Cindy Gallop: Because Christy asked me in her interview, Why I thought there were so few women, um, who had founded, um, and, and we're owning, um, advertising agencies. There are a couple of reasons. Um, I'm going to come up with a second one in a moment, but the primary reason is absolutely not because women don't want to found their own businesses or because they're not capable of finding their own businesses.

It's because they have had all their confidence. Beaten out of them by the men in our industry. They've had their careers sabotaged. They've had their dreams destroyed. They had their ambitions crushed and they don't believe they're capable of it. One of the things I do is I have a personal coaching practice and I coach women and men.

And I coach women across all industries, um, by the way, but I coach, um, unsurprisingly, a lot of women in our industry. I coach brilliant women who have no idea how brilliant they are, because they've had all their confidence beaten out of them by men. They've been held down by men, kept back by men, had their careers derailed by men.

They have no idea how brilliant they are. That's why there are a lot more female owned agencies. The other reason, which I think is very interesting for our industry and our listeners to just be aware of, because, because I talk about this a lot because I haven't observed anybody else talking about this.

And also I think it's very good for our listeners to reflect on. In every industry, Which is, like ours, at the top, a closed loop of white guys talking to white guys about other white guys. In every other industry, those white men at the top who've made an absolute goddamn fucking shit ton of money out of that industry, invest it back into the industry.

Really obvious example is the PayPal Mafia. The billionaires that came out of PayPal, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, invested their billions back into the future of fintech because they had built the future of fintech and they saw how much opportunity and how much potential there was. As I said, that happens in every other industry except ours.

The white men at the top of our industry have made an absolute goddamn shit ton of money out of it. are not reinvesting that money back into the future industry. That is a real indictment in terms of what it says those white men think about our industry. They see our industry as a money making machine for themselves, and they don't believe it has a future.

And I say that, James, because, you know, I mentioned earlier that I don't believe it's possible to create change within the system. But change is happening outside the system. And that is because women and people of color are reinventing the future industry. I go back to my mention of Christy Hyla's Own It podcast.

Every single one of those interviews is with a female founder who is reinventing what an agency means, okay. Separate to the fact that. I myself have an ad tech product I want to build, that I want to raise funding for. I think I've cited several other women who like me are working in the tech and data side of food advertising.

And none of us can get funded. And I say that, by the way, because I've also encountered Men in our industry have gone on to start very different businesses. Nothing to do with advertising whatsoever. Where their mates at the top industry have absolutely funded that, but not the future industry. And I think that's very interesting.

James Lawrence: And I do, we're a digital marketing agency, so it's kind of adjacent to ad and creative land. And, I would say that probably 70 percent of the clients or prospective clients we're dealing with are female, right? Like in house marketing managers and senior marketers and junior managers. And in our industry, I think those numbers would be about right, where probably 90 percent of the agencies in our space would be, would have male clients.

Founders of those businesses. But I kind of look at it similarly again, which is like, it would almost be a competitive advantage. If you're a female founder of a digital marketing agency, when you're dealing with 70, you know, and of course that doesn't mean that, you know, women can't deal with male buyers and male buyers wouldn't buy with a female founder.

But I think to me, it's just the logic. Like there's no reason why it can't happen. You know what I mean? Like it shouldn't logically be a barrier.

Cindy Gallop: But actually James, it's not even about who you deal with. It's about the fact that, as I said earlier. The primary target of all advertising is women and yet our industry is male dominated.

We as women are being targeted and sold to through the white male lens. That's why surveys regularly report that 90 percent of women feel that advertising is not relevant to them. We know how to sell to ourselves, but in a male dominated industry, we don't get to.

James Lawrence: It's very interesting. I will ensure that, um, we include a link to the owner podcast in the, in the notes of the show, I think really, really interesting. The net, like in your presentation, we spoke about five areas of aspiration of which, um, sex is one. I thought age was fascinating as well. I think it is an area where there is this kind of incongruency or what is being projected isn't not necessarily, it's not reality.

Right. Um, I'd love to kind of dig into that as well.

Cindy Gallop: Sure, um, you know, again, this is something I've been talking about for years. Our industry makes the enormous mistake of thinking that older people want to be young. We don't. Young people want to be us. Because We, older people, are extremely aspirational, because at this age, we don't give a shit.

We don't care what anybody thinks, we can do whatever the hell we want.

James Lawrence: Did you ever, Cindy? No. I would have thought you never would have given a shit about what people thought, is that true?

Cindy Gallop: In my younger years, you know, my young, insecure teenage years, yeah. Um, you know, at this age, you know, we have developed, um, Our own sense of style, you know, our own sense of personal style, our own sense of home decor style, you know, we know what really matters in life, you know, in relationships, in friendships, you know, with regard to our beliefs and values, all of that is tremendously aspirational to younger people.

And, you know, I have proof of that myself because, you know, I'm, I'm 64, I tell everybody how old I am as often as possible, I shout my age from the rooftops. because I believe the opposite of what people tend to say when they, when they want to counter ageism, which is, oh, age is just a number. I disagree.

Your age is a very special number because your age is the sum total of you. Your age is the sum total of age. All of your life lived to date, you know, all of your experience, all of your expertise, your age is your value. A couple of years ago, I was asked to do an interview for a wonderful series from a brand created by mother and daughter, Elisa and Lily, it's called Style Like You.

And they have an interview series called What's Underneath, where, um, the format is, you know, the interviewee sits on a stool, um, Elisa and Lily sit behind the camera. They ask the interviewee a question, and as the interviewee answers with each question, you remove an item of clothing. The idea being that you metaphorically and literally strip down to what's underneath.

So they asked me to do an interview in, they have different kind of target segments, and they wanted to do a series with older people. And so, you know, at the age of, at that time I was 62, I think. So I took off all my clothes, down to my underwear, and While talking about, you know, how I like to live my life, the fact that I have never wanted married, you know, never wanted children, adore being single, cannot wait to die alone, date younger men, casually recreative sex, talk about make love, not porn, et cetera, et cetera.

I have to say, you know, I was blown away by the response to that interview. First of all, I went viral on Tik ToK and I wasn't even on Tik ToK. The clips from this interview got millions of views, thousands of comments. There are 900 versions. stitched together with this interview on TikTok, a lot of them, Gen Z loves me.

You know, a lot of them using the meme. I have seen my future and it is bright and the comments on TikTok and on YouTube where this interview is as well, and on Instagram really blew me away because there were so many young people and this wasn't just young women, it was also young men saying. All my life I've been looking for an older female role model like this.

And there was one very moving comment, um, left on the video on Instagram, where a young woman said something along the lines of, imagine if we had grown up all our lives seeing and hearing women live and talk like this. Imagine how very different our lives would be now.

We can reinvent aspirational culture around age.

And by the way, I would also just point out That the number of younger men who slid into my DMs was extraordinary. They saw me, they saw me stripped down to my 62 year old body, in, in, in underwear and went, I want some of that.

James Lawrence: I worked on both levels, Cindy.

Cindy Gallop: So, so yeah, but you know, older is aspirational.

But our industry is ageist as fuck. And that's a huge problem. Because, The only way you get that older people money is when you have older people creating, writing, producing, directing, casting the ads. Because we know how to sell it ourselves. Again, you know, we need to stop being ageist as an industry, to stop being ageist in advertising.

And, and, and when we do that, We can end ageism in real life.

James Lawrence: It reminds me of, um, I'm not sure if you'll know the reference, because it's Sydney, but, um, Bondi Beach used to have this famous Italian restaurant, North Bondi Italian, and then Parramatta is kind of out west of Sydney, and it probably, you know, west of Sydney has the connotation of being more working class, you know, away from the beach, etc.

And, I don't know, it was probably 10 years ago, maybe 15 years ago, there was a survey done of, um, Um, people working in advertising and marketing agencies and, you know, in Sydney, most of the agencies are in Surrey Hills or in the kind of inner city area. And the survey basically was, you know, how many of you have been to North Bondi Italian?

And, you know, 93 percent of respondents had been there. Um, how many of you have been to North Bondi Italian in the last six months or something like that? And it was, you know, 64 percent or something like that. You know, how many of you live within, you know, a city? Five kilometers of Surrey Hills and you know, whatever it was, and then it was kind of how many of you have been to Paramatta in your life, and it was kind of like 43 percent and how many of you have been there in the last 10 years.

Yeah, and it was kind of 12 percent and just making the point that the people who are writing the ads and putting the creative together and putting this message, which is important, right, like what we listen to on the radio or drive by on a billboard or see on TV, like it rightly or wrongly, it kind of reflects society, but it also kind of, to your point, it reflects an aspirational view or it's projecting an aspirational view of what the world should look like.

And if women are making the majority of buying decisions and if older people, you know, have the purse strings, which in. You know, Australia, that demographic has, controls a huge amount of the economy, right?

Cindy Gallop: Yeah, absolutely, everywhere.

James Lawrence: Yeah, and ads being written by people that don't reflect that or don't understand that part of the world.

Cindy Gallop: Basically, James, in our industry, when you see older people depicted in ads, It is in one of two contexts. Either it is very good looking, white hair, blue eyes, walking along beach with bounding golden retriever, or it is caricatured figures of fun. That's it.

James Lawrence: Yeah.

Cindy Gallop: Nothing in between.

James Lawrence: Yeah. Once again, feels like an opportunity, which rationally should kind of bear itself out, right?

Cindy Gallop: Yeah.

James Lawrence: It's a bit of a segue now, but like what are you most proud of in your career to date?

Cindy Gallop: Honestly, I'm most proud of the fact that my business, Make Love Not Porn, is still going. And by the way, James, I'm going to seize this moment to hijack this podcast if you don't mind, um, to just share with our listeners that just the day before yesterday, we have launched our first ever equity crowdfunding campaign for make love not porn.

And the reason why it's our first ever is because historically every crowdfunding platform has refused to touch us with a barge Hmm Even though, as I hope our listeners can deduce from the title, Make Love Not Porn is a badly needed venture.

James Lawrence: Do you want to, it would be great to talk about it. Because I was going to go there.

But let's um, can you maybe just take a backward step and just kind of introduce, What it is, why it started, and the challenges, I think, that we've had along the way.

Cindy Gallop: Sure. So, basically, Make Love Not Porn is a complete and total accident because I never consciously, intentionally set out to do anything I very bizarrely find myself doing now.

It came about because I date younger men, they tend to be in their twenties, and it was through dating younger men that I realized, gosh, um, 16, 17 years ago now, That when we don't talk openly and honestly about sex in the real world, porn becomes sex education by default in not a good way. When I realized this, um, I'm a naturally action oriented person.

I thought, wow, um, if I'm experiencing this, other people must be as well. I didn't know that because 16 years ago, no one was talking about this.

Cindy Gallop: This was me just going, you know, I want to do something about this. So 15 years ago, I put up on No Money, a tiny clunky website, purely as a side venture at that in its original iteration was just copy. The construct was porn world versus real world. I launched it 15 years ago this month at TED in 2009. I became the only TED speaker to say the words come on my face on the TED stage six times in succession. I'm the first person to say it on the Smarter Marketer podcast as well.

Cindy Gallop: Oh, well, there you go. The talk went viral as a result. And it drove this extraordinary global response to my tiny website that I had never anticipated. Um. Thousands of people wrote to me from all around the world, including Australia. Young and old, male and female, straight and gay, pouring their hearts out.

Telling me things about their sex lives and their porn watching habits They've never told anyone before and I realized I'd uncovered a huge global social issue And so I then felt I had a responsibility to take make love not porn forwards in a way that would make it much more far reaching helpful and effective and So I turned it into a business designed to do good and make money simultaneously Which is what I believe all business should be And so today, MakeLoveNotPorn is pro sex, pro porn, pro knowing the difference.

We are the world's first and only user generated, and importantly, 100 percent human curated, social sex video sharing platform. So we're kind of what Facebook would be if it allowed you to socially, sexually self express, which it clearly doesn't. The way to think about us is, if porn is the Hollywood blockbuster movie, Make Love Not Porn is the badly needed documentary.

A unique window onto the funny, messy, loving, wonderful sex we all have every day in the real world. And what we're doing is we are socializing, normalizing, and de stigmatizing sex. Bringing it out of the shadows, into the sunlight, to promote consent, communication, good sexual values and behavior. We are literally sex education through real world demonstration.

And the reason I say I'm proudest of the fact that we're still here, It's because when I embarked on this venture, I had no idea that I, my tiny team would fight an enormous battle every single day, basically because every piece of business infrastructure, any other startup takes for granted, we can't, the small print always says no adult content, can't get funded, couldn't get banked, can't put payments in place, banned for advertising.

What is interesting about Make Love, Not Porn, um, James is that as a unique business, we have a unique capability. We have the power to change people's sexual attitudes and behavior for the better in a way that nothing else can. Because I live my own philosophies we are reinventing aspirational culture around sex.

I'll give you an example that may resonate particularly here in Australia, because I designed MakeLoveNotPorn to be fully diverse and inclusive, and we are. Our members and our contributors, and we call out MakeLoveNotPorn stars, are all ages. You know, they are male, female, trans, non binary, straight, LGBTQ, all races, ethnicities.

We're a global platform. We have Australian MakeLoveNotPorn stars. But in the 11 years we've operated as a business, We've observed that Make Love Not Porn is especially a revelation to men. More men send us grateful emails, leave appreciative comments than anybody else, because we are something utterly unique that men will find nowhere else on the internet, which is a safe space where men can be and watch other men being open, emotional, and vulnerable around sex.

You would not believe the number of men who write to us regularly and say, Hey. I just watched my first video of Make Love Not Porn, and afterwards I cried. I've been saying for years that I wish society understood the opposite of what it thinks is true. Women enjoy sex just as much as men. And men are just as romantic as women.

Yet neither gender is allowed to openly celebrate either fact. We would all be so much better off if they were. I picked up a wonderful Twitter exchange last year between two men. The first man had tweeted, as a joke obviously, Hey guys, I've got this really weird fetish. I've got this kink where I want to watch porn where people are honest, loving, loyal, decent, and really like each other.

Get me out of the hot seat, please. And another man replied and said, there's this website called MakeLoveNotPorn where you can watch real couples making love. He said, I watched a video where the woman said to her man, I love you while they're making love. He said, sincerely, I cried when I heard that make up.

Not porn is one of the solutions to toxic masculinity. And this is very important because ultimately our mission at MakeLoveNotPorn is to end rape culture. By the way, that sounds like a very big vision, but we have 11 years of proof of concept at the micro level. We end rape culture by doing something incredibly simple that nevertheless nobody else is doing.

We end rape culture by showing you how wonderful great consensual communicative sex is in the real world. Are social sex videos role model? good sexual values and good sexual behavior. And here's the important part in line with the female conversation. We make all of that aspirational versus what you see in porn and popular culture.

You know, one man left a comment on a video saying, This video makes me want to be a better man in the bedroom and in life.

James Lawrence: It's amazing, isn't

Cindy Gallop: it? That's what we can achieve.

James Lawrence: As the father of three little boys, it terrifies me because porn has unfortunately become the way, like a prime way that young people are kind of learning about what sex is and what it isn't.

And it's not reflective of the real world, right? And it's terrifying that then in the same way that marketing and advertising shapes you know, how we might view society. It's the same again in the bedroom, right?

Cindy Gallop: Exactly. And, um, that's why James, it is literally criminal. I use the term advisedly that I have not been able to raise the funding.

I need to scale, make love, not porn, to be the Facebook of social sex globally. And that is why I'm going back to a point I began making, because I want to ask our listeners to support me in a way that to be perfectly frank, our industry has not supported me. Um in the past as I said, we've just launched our first ever equity crowdfunding campaign on we funder who embraced us because Um, this community round is being led by the actress Jamila Jamil You may be familiar with from the good place and she hulk She has a wonderful community called eye way Which is all about body positivity feminism, you know quality, etc You And she is leading this community round.

And so we fund her, the crowdfunding platform, have embraced us. And I would love our listeners, um, um, I'd love you to feature this link. I'd love our listeners to go to wefundr. com slash makelovenotporn. And please, um, micro invest, you know, investments start at 100. They go up to whatever you'd like it to be.

And please stretch yourself.

James Lawrence: Just going to plug the, uh, the big amount here.

Cindy Gallop: Yeah. No, absolutely. After what I said about the white guys who made a shit ton of money on the street, not funding the future, um, we are targeting just over a million dollars. And, and very importantly, James, what that will enable us to do is to build a new MakeLoveNot product I've had in the pipeline for 10 years, which is the 0 to 18 and beyond sex education expansion, MakeLoveNotPorn academy. And if you go to that URL, MakeLoveNotPorn. academy, you'll see my vision laid out there. But we're talking about, you know, to your point, products the world badly needs. After, you know, 39 years of, I'll be very straightforward, giving a huge amount to our industry in terms of unpaid emotional labor around, you know, diversity and inclusion, around gender equality, around advocacy and championing for our industry generally, This is our industry's chance to return the favor.

I would love our industry to really help crowdfund to hit our goal at MakeLoveNotPorn. And by the way, you know, these are micro investments. Fund us. I intend to turn this into a unicorn that will enormously benefit you as and when I do.

James Lawrence: And the 0 to 18 academy that he's like, literally targeting. younger people as an educational tool on

The way this works, you know, I want to build what I call the Khan Academy of sex education, because Khan Academy, the online tutoring platform tutors on every other topic under the sun, except this one, educational technology, edtech platforms are exploding, not in this area.

So I want to build the academy on the same principles as make love not porn. tv, user generated crowdsource curated revenue share. Because I'm not about reinventing the wheel. This is an aggregation play. I want to build the go to global hub for the best of the world's sex education content. So the way it works is with funding, you know, we build a platform and we then invite sex educators all around the world to share with us their own content.

Coursework materials, books, videos, comic strips, and I use the term educator broadly. Sexual health and wellness experts, therapists, anybody informing and educating this entire area. Hmm. We will curate at the heart of everything we do at Make Love Not Porn lies human curation. There's no self publishing.

HumanEyes will vet every piece of content to make sure it's safe and we endorse it. We will then publish all of this content segmented by age appropriateness. So if you're a parent freaking out going, Oh my God, my six year old just lost this, what the hell did I say? You know, here's where you would find entirely age appropriate tools and content to be able to have that conversation with a six year old.

If you're a teacher 14 year olds, here are your age appropriate teaching materials. If you're an adult, access all areas. Adults are equally desperate for information. But the important thing, James, is that the academy will be where children and young people can access sex education without parental teacher gatekeeping.

And here's why that's important. I have a friend who's a mother. And as you have to these days, she monitors her kid's browsing history. This actually happened a few years ago. Her son was 8 years old. Thanks. And she saw to her horror that on the family computer he had googled sex for children. So she freaked out, but did the right thing, stayed calm, sat him down.

Darling, you know, I see you've looked at this, talk me through why. This anecdote is adorable and horrifying in equal measure, because Her son wanted to learn about sex. He was a child. He knew he was a child. He wanted to learn about sex in a child appropriate way. He sweetly, innocently googled sex for children.

You can imagine what came back. Utterly traumatized. And so the academy will be where an eight year old boy can enter his age and we will only serve him age appropriate sex education content. Now, some of this will be free to access for that example. But we're also trying Charge to subscribe, download, bulk buy if you're in a school.

There are different revenue streams, different use cases. By the way, we're talking huge revenue generator. And we will then split the income 50, 50 with its creators in the same way that we currently do with our revenue share model with our make love, not porn stars on make love, not porn, because right now, James, no one goes into sex education to make money.

I have friends all around the world who are brilliant sex educators. They face all the same obstacles I do. Their content gets blocked on Facebook and Instagram, their accounts get suspended, they're banned from advertising. They can't even make a living doing this, they've had to take other jobs to survive.

And I want to change that because this is enormously valuable work. But I have three other agendas with the Academy. The first is that when I can build an educational expansion, I reframe make love not porn, I give us social legitimacy. The second is that because we are banned from promoting make love not porn on media, you know, social and traditional.

I believe in building solutions to my own problems. I designed the academy to be very effective growth engine for the core business. Because when you're 18 and over, you graduate to sex education through real world demonstration. We can send all the parents, teachers and adults straight to the core business.

But the third, um, item is, I'm out to prove concept. And what I mean by that is, for years people have said to me, Oh, Cindy, you should go to schools. You know, make love a point to be on the curriculum. And I've gone, no, I shouldn't. Because anybody trying to bring sex ed into schools comes up against the parent teacher association, moral, I don't care.

Um, but here's the thing. The people keeping sex ed out of schools, Yes. Don't know what it'd be like if they allowed it in. They just, they'd be really bad. In their heads, they have this abstract concept, Solomon Gamora will ensue. When I can show you, what does not exist anywhere right now, when I can show you all in one place, the best of the world's sex education content, and you can see for yourself at a glance how brilliant, informative, educational, healthy, and non threatening it is, and when you can search it.

By age appropriateness and by sensibility, because we will have Christian sexification, Muslim sexification, Jewish sexification. That's when I can get sex-ed in schools. And in fact, one investor said to me, Cindy, the moment 100 schools sign on to the academy, you're looking at a completely different value proposition.

James Lawrence: Yeah, and otherwise the education's coming from Pornhub, right?

Cindy Gallop: Exactly. And so, everyone who's listening, that's what I would love you to micro invest in.

James Lawrence: Uh, WeFunder.

Cindy Gallop:

James Lawrence: We'll chuck a, we'll chuck that link into the, into the notes. Cindy, I have loved talking with you. Um, we end every episode of the pod with a, with the question of what's the best career, piece of career advice that you would give to marketers?

Cindy Gallop: I think, to be perfectly honest, the best piece of career advice I can give marketers is the same piece of life advice that I would give everybody.

Which is, don't give a damn what anybody else thinks. And, what I mean by that is, I recommend to everybody, and this applies whether you're a person or a brand, okay, if you've never done this, take a long hard look into yourself, and ask yourself, what do I believe in? What do I value? What do I stand for?

What am I all about? Because when you do that, that makes life so much simpler. Life still throws at you all the shit it always will, but you know exactly how to respond to that shit in any given situation the way that is true to you. That is the secret of happiness, living your life and working your work in a way that is always true to your values.

And by the way, that is also the secret of brand success. You know, operating as a brand in a way that is always true to your values. And so, when you do that, you don't need to give a damn what anybody else thinks. Because you know that what you are doing is always true to you. So yeah, I would say don't give a damn what anyone else thinks.

James Lawrence: And he's brilliant. And I like the, the depth to the kind of follow up on it. I think it's kind of the first bit can be, you know, can mean a whole bunch of different things, but I think that underlying congruent with what you actually believe in sets you up for, it does, it sets you up for happiness, right?

You end up being with people that like you for you. Or in a workplace. So yeah, I think it's um, wonderful wisdom to impart. Cindy, thank you so much for being on the pod.

Cindy Gallop: Terrific. It's been an absolute pleasure, James.

We wrote the best-selling marketing book, Smarter Marketer

Written by Rocket’s co-founders, David Lawrence and James Lawrence, Smarter Marketer claimed #1 Amazon best-seller status within 3 hours of launch!