04:43 GMT +318 November 2019
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    Unilever, Heinz Under Scrutiny After Paying for Ads on Pornhub

    CC BY 2.0 / Marco Verch / Pornhub logo on a computer screen with a magnifying glass
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    Global brands Unilever and Kraft Heinz have come under fire for launching massive advertising campaigns on the world’s most popular porn website.

    Unilever, which makes Dove soap, Marmite and Hellmann's mayonnaise, ran a campaign for its grooming company Dollar Shave Club, which sends members razors in the post, with one of the ads reading “If you use our bathroom products you won't have to visit this site as much.”

    Unilever’s spending on marketing is roughly £6billion a year, and according to Matt Knapp, creative director of Dollar Shave Club, the company chose to advertise on Pornhub because it “has guys’ backs.” “It’s not expensive, but interestingly, the exposure that you can get and the impressions are huge,” he told the marketing journal Mi3 back in August. On Saturday, however, Unilever distanced itself from Pornhub and vowed not to advertise on the site again. 

    “This type of content is deeply troubling and we will ensure that none of our brands advertise on Pornhub again, or on any other porn sites,” the company told The Sunday Times. A spokeswoman added that Dollar Shave Club had operational independence and that Unilever’s head office in London was unaware of the campaign at the time.

    Kraft Heinz, which owns Weight Watchers, HP Sauce and Capri-Sun, has also advertised on Pornhub and took over the website’s homepage for a one-day #FoodPorn campaign to promote Devour, its frozen food brand, in January. A spokesman told the Times: “The brand was explicitly talking about #Foodporn, which has become a cultural phenomenon on Instagram.”

    Pornhub has 110million daily visits and is the most popular pornography site in the UK. Its audience is 71 percent male, making it an attractive site for advertisers who are targeting campaigns toward men.  The site, however, has been criticized for posting illegal material, including child pornography. The Internet Watch Foundation said it had identified dozens of examples of child sexual abuse material on the website. In 2017 there were 29 cases, in 2018 there were 42 and there have been 47 instances so far this year.

    Pornhub said it had a “robust internal policy” for removing offending material, including “expertly-trained human reviewers” and “scanning content to determine whether it is consensual.” Blake White, Pornhub’s vice president, said child sexual abuse made up a tiny proportion of content and the aim was to eradicate it.

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