If you haven’t seen it yet, Titcoins is a parody of digital currency initiatives that ultimately fell through due to its instability, i.e. Bitcoin and Dogecoin. The video includes familiar tech startup cartoon characters and a soft-spoken narrator, explaining the imaginative functionality, which enables women to pay for various goods and services with a faceless photo of their—you guessed it—tits.
The video was created in association with Pornhub, the world’s leading adult entertainment website—or something like that—in an effort to find the next Creative Director for the company. Whatever the goal was, it definitely got people interested, with its realistic replication of modern introduction videos and its titillating proposal.
Since Wednesday the video had accumulated over one million views, going viral (perhaps even being the most watched video affiliated with Pornhub that week—or not). Yet such a phenomenon left me thinking: Is this a “brilliant” marketing campaign or an actual call for concern?
Generally speaking, I would not involve myself in this type of matter. I should just watch it, chuckle and move on like I do with most cats or cute-babies-falling-down videos. By discussing it, I can either sound like a prune or a smut-lover, and I’m definitely not a prune! Gross!
Like most fathers (I’m not a father), I worried about the well-being of the next generation of women. We are currently living in a place where the terms “revenge porn” and “slut shaming” are floating around. I hate those terms. But the hate did not surface initially, I laughed at first, the same way I laughed at the Titcoins video. It’s one of those ideas that is so disturbing it’s funny; there is nothing you can do but laugh. Like a disease, it’s not a problem, until it’s your problem… and when it’s your problem, it stops being funny. Obviously, those two terms are no longer laughing matters.
By nature, we’re pretty impulsive creatures. And technological advances have made it even easier to be impulsive. Over 60% of mobile device owners have made a purchase on their smartphones or tablet in the previous month. Retail businesses know that mobile-optimized websites are essential to shoppers, because it’s convenient, and once they try it, they’ll likely do it again and again. Like drugs, we become addicted.
Our devices are now an extension of who we are. Habit-forming apps have become a part of our lifestyle. Bitcoin—if done right—could have been a part of our lifestyle as well and it would have been great.
Titcoins may not be a real thing, but it’s honest. It’s reality masked in with humour and creativity. It’s effective because we can all close our eyes and imagine it being practical. Yet at the heart of it, it’s manipulation, but it works.
“You don’t have money? That’s fine, show me your boobs.” That’s the first level of entry, not a big deal. Boobs whatever. Then again, what is the second level? The third? The forth? What happens after we react to an impulse and acknowledge the ease and benefit, and ignore the consequence? We’ll do it again of course. It is this slippery slope that concerns me.
The Titcoins video is a reminder of what technology and a simple idea can do. It reminds us that the social norm is evolving—fast. The fact that we can get so many people to agree that pornography is a reasonable solution is simultaneously impressive and scary. As innovators and thought-leaders we need to ask ourselves some key questions concerning our technology. What will happen when smartphones get smarter? What will happen when wearables become commercialized? What will happen to our try-something-once (YOLO) mentality?
Then again… supply and demand, right?