Food porn

Heinz ran a controversial ad on Pornhub earlier this year.
Two of the world's largest consumer goods retailers are in damage control mode after walking into a maelstrom of controversy for running advertising campaigns on Pornhub.

Unilever and Kraft Heinz, who own a raft of popular brands, ran ads on the leading porn website earlier this year.

Unilever ran a campaign for its Dollar Shave Club grooming company, which delivers razor blades and other cosmetic products through the mail. "If you use our bathroom products you won't have to visit this site as much," one of the cheeky ads claimed.

Dollar Shave Club's creative director Matt Knapp said it advertised on the porn behemoth 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 in August.

However, Unilever is now singing an entirely different tune. The parent company denied knowledge of the campaign, 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," it said in a statement to the Times.

Kraft Heinz, which owns over 20 global brands including Weight Watchers and Kool-Aid, emblazoned its frozen food brand Devour all over the erotic website earlier this year. "The brand was explicitly talking about #Foodporn, which has become a cultural phenomenon on Instagram," a spokesperson said.

The ad campaigns are under scrutiny as campaigners allege that Pornhub hosts illegal content, including indecent images of children and covertly filmed material.

The Internet Watch Foundation said it has identified dozens of examples of child sexual abuse on the website. In 2017 there were 29 cases, in 2018 there were 42 and there have been 47 instances so far this year.

The campaign group #NotYourPorn also said it identified revenge porn videos and clips filmed by secret cameras on Pornhub, while the Sunday Times reportedly found dozens of examples of illegal material on the website "within minutes."

"Consumers of these porn websites should know that there is often no way to tell whether they are consuming images of children, and that every time they visit sites like Pornhub they are contributing to the problem," Kate Isaacs, a spokesperson for #NotYourPorn, said.

Labour MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan blasted the multi-national corporations for advertising on Pornhub saying: "There is no excuse for companies such as Heinz and Unilever wanting to advertise on a platform hosting child pornography."

The porn giant responded by saying that it had a "robust internal policy" for identifying and deleting illegal content. Its vice president, Blake White, said child sexual abuse made up a tiny proportion of the site's material and the company aims to eradicate it.