Mike Kulich Discusses Stunner PR
LOS ANGELES — Industry veteran Mike Kulich told XBIZ launching Stunner PR just over a year ago has taught him more about one key trait.
“I think the most important thing I’ve learned is about loyalty, being loyal to your clients and not sugar-coating anything,” Kulich said.
“It’s about being honest with your clients and being able to tell them, ‘I don’t think this works, I think you should do this instead.’”
So far, so good for Kulich, who said he has yet to lose a client due to his company’s performance.
A full-service public relations and marketing firm, Stunner PR in a relatively short span has assembled a diverse roster of companies and individuals that operate at high levels in every sector of adult entertainment.
His clients include FriendFinder Networks and their sites Cams.com and Alt.com; pleasure products trendsetter Sportsheets; distribution hub Pure Play Media and the growing movie studios Airerose Entertainment, Dreamzone Entertainment and Trans 500.
Currently, there are two elite performers in the Stunner stable: reigning XBIZ Best New Starlet Carter Cruise and Adriana Chechik, the 2015 XBIZ Best Scene – Non-Feature winner who came aboard earlier this month.
“I’ve created synergy with the companies,” Kulich said. “With Cams.com, they have a lot of fetish cam models, so I set them up with Sportsheets. They shipped them product from their new Sexperiments Kits and these girls are using the products live on cam.
“You can do that when your clients aren’t competing with each other. It makes it a lot easier to connect these people. That’s one of the best parts about this, when I have two clients and one’s in video and one’s in novelty and both can see the return on their investment from just working with each other.”
Speaking of connections, Cruise in November became the official brand ambassador for Airerose, which went on to win Best New Studio at the 2015 XBIZ Awards in January. Airerose is poised to release her second career showcase title, “All Access Carter Cruise” in May.
“She signed before all the awards came in and I kind of look at that success as hand in hand. They kind of propped up each other,” Kulich said, noting that Airerose VP Adam Hasner “has done a phenomenal job” building a gonzo studio that can compete with the major players.
“Now we have this showcase coming up and it’s a different kind of showcase. They gave Carter a camera and the bonus disc will be like a ‘Day in the Life of Carter Cruise.’ She films her own kind of behind-the-scenes video.”
The next Airerose “All Access” showcase will feature Bonnie Rotten, Kulich revealed.
A career sales executive who started in adult in 2004 with the New Jersey-based distribution giant IVD, Kulich created Stunner PR last February on the heels of winning the 2014 XBIZ Award for Marketing Campaign of the Year for his Monarchy Distribution label. It actually was Porno Dan Leal who first suggested that he "do PR for other people," Kulich said.
The first company he represented was Dogfart, which soon went viral with its parody of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racism scandal, as media outlets such as Huffington Post, TheBigLead.com, EliteDaily.com, Sportsgrid, and more picked up the story.
“From there it just kind of snowballed,” Kulich said. “More companies started contacting me and more talent started contacting me.”
A few months later, Kulich found that managing the expansion of Stunner PR was requiring the majority of his focus. Flash forward to earlier this year when he decided to step back from running the day-to-day of Monarchy to devote all his energy to Stunner.
“I don’t even take a salary from Monarchy anymore,” Kulich said. “Stunner is my primary focus. I keep Monarchy open and we keep the titles going through Vantage and Pure Play, and it maintains the payroll so we can keep the employees we do have in their jobs.”
Kulich, who has been open with sharing his young son’s battle with Leukemia, also now donates almost 100 percent of the profits from Monarchy to cancer awareness foundations.
Eleven years later, he said his pool of contacts has made growth organic, building relationships with most of Stunner’s clients through referrals.
“I know everyone from the toy side to the video side, so it sort of became a word-of-mouth thing,” Kulich said. “Different people just started contacting me and I was very selective with who I took on. I didn’t want any companies who were competing with each other.
“I did turn a few away because it’s not all about the money or all about as many clients as I can have. Then you can’t give the special attention to the companies that you do have. So that’s how the diversity of the roster came about.”
Stunner PR also offers design and social media services, according to Kulich, who employs a full-time graphic designer at Monarchy who now handles projects for Stunner.
“He can do box covers or packaging or special promotions,” Kulich said.
Social media-wise, his not-so-secret weapon is Jess Brigham, a former Victoria’s Secret model and marketing wiz based in Boston who has built a strong Twitter following and keeps Stunner clients in the conversation.
“She’s a freelancer for us. She’ll tweet about all our companies,” Kulich added. “When a company signs on, Jess and I will both go through all their social media accounts, whether it’s Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter, and do a full social media evaluation.
“Our goal is not to get someone a million followers. I’d rather have 1,000 who pay for a product than a million followers who don’t. We put together a marketing plan for social media designed to gain more followers and monetize the traffic.”
Among Kulich’s recent coups was connecting Penthouse, whose parent company is FriendFinderNetworks, with the notorious Oregon State Library Girl Kendra Sunderland. She shot her first layout for the magazine that will be published in April and has signed an agreement that includes web-camming at PlayWithKendra.com, which is operated by FriendFinder's newest cam site, PlayWithMe.com.
As part of Sunderland’s deal she’ll also be touring the country for AdultFriendFinder promoting their “Cam Girlz” documentary, Kulich said.
“We’re looking for a long-term relationship with her,” he said.
Kulich also brokered a deal to have Vice magazine take an ad out on AdultFriendFinder.com. “That’s a huge deal for Vice to be advertising on an adult dating website,” he said.
When it comes to effective PR representation, Kulich concluded it boils down to the old adage, “you get what you pay for.”
“I’m a born salesman,” Kulich said. “I consider my job as a publicist a straight-up sales job.
"If a client comes to me and they have a new product line coming out, I go to all my mainstream contacts and sell the story and sell the idea. And we don’t stop until we have a placement. At the end of the day when you have mainstream placements it builds the brand.”