170: From Sex Toys to Global Health and Liberty with Phil Harvey

Phil Harvey, Chairman at DKT International

During this episode of “Marketing Today,” host Alan Hart interviews Phil Harvey, Chairman DKT International, a non-profit family planning and A.I.D.S. prevention organization.  Also, Harvey is a major shareholder of PHE Incorporated, the holding company for Adam & Eve, a mail-order company that sells products for better sex life. Harvey is also the founder of the DKT Liberty Project and an ardent libertarian. Even at his current age of 81-years-old, Harvey still has a few goals that he is after.

Harvey discusses his early years starting a business and a nonprofit organization simultaneously but how the charitable actions that come out of PHE are mostly individually based. Find out how DKT last year was supplying contraceptive products for 44 million couples in the developing world. Understand his beliefs regarding competition as the heart of the capitalist society. He also shared his legal battles for liberty that ended up costing around $2 million and the attacks that he faced as they pertained to sex-related product sales. And probably most important and impactful to me, is the story from his time in India that illustrates the importance of integrity to Harvey.

Phil Harvey discusses why he believes companies shouldn’t be forcing themselves to appear to be charitable, “I am generally opposed to trying to turn a commercial corporation into some kind of brand for saving the world. I don’t think it is appropriate. It is a distraction, and often it just doesn’t work very well.” The simplicity and scalability of social marketing, not to be confused with social media like Facebook and Twitter, Harvey explains “social marketing in this context means the use of commercial marketing techniques to achieve social ends.” Find out why Phil Harvey believes that “advertising more specifically, I think is blamed for various societal ills. But I don’t agree that marketing, particularly when you use that term, is a troublesome term in the nonprofit world.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • How is Phil different from the man he was back in 1961? (02:30)
  • How has Phil used commerce to do good in the world? (05:56)
  • Why did he create a business and a nonprofit business at the same time? (13:01)
  • Phil explains the social marketing of DKT (26:14)
  • Did Phil face marketing resistance in the nonprofit space? (40:28)
  • What does Phil think about the state of business today? (52:05)
  • Phil discusses how many of his legal battles that have made it all the way to the supreme court. (55:00)
  • Where does this fighting spirit come from? (1:01:43)
  • Is he thinking about retirement anytime soon? (1:09:55)
  • Is there an experience in Phil Harvey’s life that has defined who he is today? (1:11:39)
  • What fuels Phil to keep going in his career and life? (1:15:42)
  • Are there brands or causes that he thinks we should pay attention to? (1:17:21)
  • Where does Phil Harvey see the future of marketing going? (1:23:28)

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