Joe Francis is one of the celebrities featured in Season 3 of VH1's reality series "Couples Therapy" along with his girlfriend, Abbey Wilson.

Joe Francis, founder of Girls Gone Wild, has grown accustomed to being a lightning rod for discussions ranging from First Amendment rights to personal freedom to obscenity to simple Hollywood gossip. But Francis' most impressive role is frequently overlooked: that of the consummate businessman. The details of Joe's phenomenal success don't often make it into the media, but it is a story worth telling.

Francis was born in Atlanta in 1973 and grew up in Laguna Beach, California, with three sisters, an Austrian-born mother and a father who ran a snack food business. Francis was always a quick study, but rarely found himself engaged by schoolwork. As soon as he was old enough, Francis found his first job at a small ice cream store. "I've always loved work," Francis says. "I was thrilled to be making my own money. I'd watched my dad worry about money and I was determined not to have my own life defined by constant financial insecurity."

While attending Laguna Beach High School, Francis landed a job at a computer/video store, where he learned to fix computers and sell video rental memberships. He discovered that he had an affinity for sales and, as he explains, "helping people buy something that I know they are going to enjoy."

After high school, Francis chose the University of Southern California for its Entrepreneur Program. Determined to one day run his own company, Francis poured himself into study, fascinated with the complexities and challenges of business. Francis also took courses in film and television.

As a condition for completing the USC Entrepreneur Program, each student is required to develop a viable business plan, including selecting a product or service and putting together a strategy for its successful marketing. By this time, Francis' father had found success in direct marketing a line of skin care products. After studying his father's business, Francis put together a plan designed to market a series of instructional videotapes called "Secrets of Successful Gambling." His business plan was not a big hit with his professors, but Francis wasn't disappointed. He decided that if the university faculty had actually known how to create a successful business, they would be running their own businesses instead of teaching how to do it.

Upon graduating from USC in 1995, Francis hoped to put his business plan into practice, but couldn't raise enough capital to actually produce the gambling tapes. Tapping the skills he'd developed in film and TV classes, Francis went to work in television as a production assistant at "Real TV," a syndicated TV show that featured footage of extraordinary events not covered in mainstream news. Working in the studio, Francis heard of a compilation tape the show's staff members were passing around to each other. The tape contained footage too disturbing for broadcast TV, but was wildly popular with the staff. Recalling the direct marketing plan he'd developed in school, Francis drew cash advances on his credit cards and licensed the sensational footage. With a partner, he wrote, produced and edited a tape together they titled "Banned from Television" and Francis set about marketing the new product.

The VHS tape was promoted exclusively via late-night cable TV commercials, where it found immediate success. Francis gathered more footage and produced three volumes of "Banned for Television" but remained unsatisfied with his product, convinced that the material was too graphic to be enjoyed over and over.

By chance, Francis came upon a videotape of some spring break revelers getting arrested for public nudity at Lake Havasu. The tape also contained footage of real college girls flashing their breasts to the camera during spring break and Mardi Gras. It was playful, joyous nudity and it immediately struck a chord in Francis. He recognized that that this wasn't pornography. It was something much better: It was REAL. Francis watched the video over and over and realized that other young men would love this material just as much as he did. He searched for similar footage and compiled it into a tape distinct from the "Banned from Television" series. Francis decided this product needed a catchy name of its own. He considered hundreds of titles before settling on "College Girls Gone Wild." He stared at this title, then impulsively crossed out the word "College" and circled "Girls Gone Wild." He worked hands-on with a graphic designer to help create an eye-catching logo featuring the three now-famous words, and a legendary brand was born.

Francis produced a 60-second commercial for Girls Gone Wild but saw it rejected by uptight station owners who'd never advertise anything featuring nudity. Finally, Howard Stern accepted the Girls Gone Wild commercials for his late broadcast on the E! Channel. Once the commercials began to air, word spread across college campuses everywhere and Girls Gone Wild was on its way to becoming a genuine phenomenon.

As sales grew, Francis convinced more broadcast and cable stations to run commercials for Girls Gone Wild until his brand dominated the late night TV landscape. Reaction from TV broadcasters was wary at first, but they quickly discovered that 1) unlike with other TV commercials, viewers didn't change the channel when the Girls Gone Wild commercial came on, and 2) the Girls Gone Wild half-hour infomercials routinely scored higher ratings than the programs they aired against, and scored even higher than the network's regularly programmed lead-in shows after which they aired. In short, TV stations across the country quickly learned that Girls Gone Wild programming was good for business.

Demand for additional volumes of Girls Gone Wild videos grew. Instead of licensing additional material, Francis decided to produce his own footage. This provided the ability to control the quality of the content, and, not coincidentally, a way to have some real fun. Francis discovered that he LOVED asking girls to take off their tops. And he was good at it.

"Flashing for the camera is a kind of release for them," Francis theorizes. "It's an expression of freedom, a statement of independence and, frankly, a matter of pride." Opportunities and demand grew so quickly that Francis assembled several freelance camera crews to travel the country, shooting footage for his popular video series.

As sales of Girls Gone Wild climbed, Francis expanded his 60-second TV spots to a 30-minute infomercial format. Francis' infomercial offered a snapshot of a lifestyle that most red-blooded men normally only dream about. Rather than taking the form of a solid 30-minute pitch, the program was designed as an entertaining TV show with "commercials" interspersed throughout. Francis dubbed this innovative form the "entermercial." Soon, college guys across the country were staying up all night to enjoy the Girls Gone Wild program over and over again.

Imitators inevitably sprang up, hoping to grab a share of the revenue that Francis' brainstorm was generating. Just as inevitably, every imitation quickly failed. Having an idea is one thing; having the savvy to turn that idea into a $100 million company is another talent altogether.

Impressed with the success Francis had in marketing the Girls Gone Wild tapes, Playboy contacted Francis and asked if he could perform similar magic for their own brand. Francis developed two products: "Playboy Mansion Parties: Uncensored" and "Playboy's Casting Calls." Francis wrote and produced several 60-second commercials advertising the Playboy tapes, which immediately returned a profit. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner was delighted.

Girls Gone Wild captured the attention of Hollywood and the recording industry, too. Francis hooked up with Snoop Dogg for a wild tour of spring break and Mardi Gras, which was filmed for a Girls Gone Wild video. "Girls Gone Wild: Doggy Style" remains one of the most popular titles in the company's history. When the "Doggy Style" infomercial hit the airwaves, Francis received a plethora of offers from other celebrities who wanted to align themselves with the Girls Gone Wild brand. Francis filmed tours with comedian Doug Stanhope, musicians Eminem, Baby Bash and Bubba Sparxx and HDNet's Zane Lamprey.

To provide a "home base" for his video crews, Girls Gone Wild acquired two million-dollar tour buses decked out with the "Girls Gone Wild" logo. The buses serve as rolling billboards, creating attention and excitement wherever they appear. The buses travel to over 700 live events per year and interact with more than 30,000 college-age consumers every week. Bars, clubs and entertainment venues across the country are eager to book Girls Gone Wild events for the crowds it brings in, providing yet another revenue stream for Girls Gone Wild.

Francis expanded the Girls Gone Wild catalog of titles, opened new markets such as pay-per-view TV and video on-demand, and hired a talented production staff to sharpen the look of the GGW videos. But the core element of Girls Gone Wild has always remained the same: real college girls, real hot. By staying true to the original vision, Girls Gone Wild eventually achieved what most marketers only dream of: brand ubiquity. USA Today affirmed Girls Gone Wild as one of the top 25 most important trends of the last quarter-century.

As a result of his success, Joe found himself in demand for interviews and public speaking engagements. He was invited to share his perspectives on business development in three separate speeches at Yale University, and has shared his wisdom with members of the International Young President's Organization (YPO) a nonprofit network comprised of more than 20,000 leaders in 100 countries dedicated to helping its members become better leaders and make a positive difference in the world, for almost a decade.

In 2002, Francis helped design a corporate retreat in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to serve the expanding needs of his company. Featuring a main house, two guesthouses, three pools and lush tropical gardens, Francis named the estate Casa Aramara from the local Indian name for "The Goddess of the Pacific Ocean." The house has been featured in several magazines and TV shows and is a centerpiece of the book Casa Mexicana Style by Tim Street-Porter. Celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Vince Vaughn, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Courtney Cox, Sheryl Crow, Quincy Jones, Kimberly Stewart, Farrah Fawcett, Mimi Rogers, the Kardashians and many others have stayed there and sung its praises. The property serves as a shooting location for infomercials, making it a valuable asset to the company and an excellent investment, much like the Playboy Mansion.

In 2004, In Demand, a pay-per-view TV company, asked Francis to produce an event for broadcast during the Super Bowl Half-time. Francis recruited college girls from all across the country to come to "Girls Gone Wild Island" to participate in a series of naked games for what became his biggest production yet, the "Girls Gone Wild Halftime Games." A DVD of the games remains one of Girls Gone Wild's most popular titles.

In May 2006, as Francis was about to turn 33, his company showed its appreciation for his achievements by renting Southern California's Magic Mountain amusement park and throwing the biggest birthday party in recent Hollywood history.

More than 5,000 friends, business acquaintances and celebrities enjoyed the park's rides, restaurants and food stands along with four full bars and a dinner buffet with sounds provided by the late DJ AM. The event was covered extensively by the mainstream entertainment media, adding further luster to the Girls Gone Wild brand.

In early 2007, Francis commissioned a complete line of high-quality Girls Gone Wild apparel, including casual wear, sleepwear and, with famed designer Ashley Paige, a line of spectacular swimwear. A runway fashion show was held during Mercedes Benz fashion week in South Beach and the GGW designs were an instant hit. The line has been carried by retailers such as Urban Outfitters, Zumiez, Fred Segal, Bloomingdales, Kitson and Lisa Kline.

As Francis explains, the Girls Gone Wild clothing line helps expand the brand to an audience that wouldn't normally order a DVD, but still wants to experience the Girls Gone Wild lifestyle. "From what we hear," says Francis, "every girl who puts on a Girls Gone Wild shirt gets more comments and attention from men for that piece of clothing than from anything else she's ever worn."

In early 2009, during the government TARP controversy, Francis and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt announced that they were petitioning the US Congress for a $5 billion financial bailout for the adult entertainment industry. "Our industry has been very successful," Francis said at the time, "but since Congress seems willing to help shore up our nation's most important businesses, we feel we deserve the same consideration." The bailout request was regarded by many as a simple PR stunt, but Francis insists that his intent was to make an impact on the discussions surrounding the government's role in business. It had an impact, becoming headline news in the mainstream print and TV media. "We were the first people to raise that absurd idea and play it straight and play it long enough for people to say to themselves, 'Wait a minute …?' and question the whole concept of the US Government bailout program. I believe we exposed this misuse of taxpayer funds to "bail out" select private corporations and changed the discussion point in this country on this issue," Francis said.

Girls Gone Wild has grown into a diversified global media company, rounded out with a highly-skilled team of professionals who have unparalleled experience in the company's core business segments.

While overseeing this diverse business organization, Francis also devotes much of his energy and financial resources to supporting a variety of charities, including the Lili Claire Foundation, established to help enhance the lives of children with neurogenetic disorders; the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation, which works to secure a better future for children in conflict areas around the world; The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, which seeks to prevent pediatric HIV infection and to eradicate pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy, and prevention and treatment programs, and Direct Relief International, which provides medical assistance to improve the quality of life for people victimized by poverty, disaster, and civil unrest at home and throughout the world. In addition, Girls Gone Wild has donated 100 percent of the gross sales, not profit, from the sale of Mardi Gras-themed DVDs and videos to the Red Cross to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Francis has proven adept at keeping his brand in the public consciousness through his high-profile lifestyle and provocative public statements. For example, when a Girls Gone Wild commercial was inadvertently shown throughout the Philadelphia market by the Comcast cable network during the broadcast of a Good Friday service at the Vatican, Francis noted publicly that the cable service received only one complaint, and sales of Girls Gone Wild spiked. "We may have tapped into a whole new market," Francis said at the time. "It seems that many of the same people interested in the Pope's message are also interested in ours."

In October 2009, Francis joined over 250,000 marchers who turned out in Washington DC to demonstrate in front of the White House in defense of gay rights. Civil rights for all people has always been a passionate issue for Francis. "I know first hand how it feels to have your civil rights stripped from you," Francis said following the march. "It was an amazing thing to be there for what will hopefully be a major turning point in history. "

Francis' dependably cogent viewpoints on current affairs have made him a sought after commentator by TV journalists ranging from Anderson Cooper, Greta Van Susteren, "Dateline NBC," Neil Cavuto, Geraldo Rivera, Martin Bashir, "The Daily Show," CBS's "48 Hours," and all the entertainment television shows.

Girls Gone Wild lifestyle entertainment products continue to be developed and distributed to audiences worldwide through television, live events, wireless, Internet, VOD, SVOD, Pay Per View, mobile and home video distribution channels. The company is a leader in the direct response marketing and membership segments, and has been a home entertainment pioneer in both DVD and Blu-Ray disk formats. Additionally, GGW spans the licensing, apparel, cross promotion, television, and gaming industries with an aggressive push into new lifestyle segments and product offerings. In 2008 Francis launched Girls Gone Wild Magazine, a monthly publication that is available at over 16,000 newsstands and retail outlets across North America and per dollar sales, is ranked 5th best-selling men's magazine in the United States.

In 2009, Francis was approached by Dallas Mavericks owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban who had been an admirer of the Girls Gone Wild brand for years. Cuban asked Francis to develop a reality TV series focusing on Girls Gone Wild's search for the hottest girl in America, for airing on Cuban's HDnet television network. Francis oversaw the production of and starred in "Girls Gone Wild Presents: Search for the Hottest Girl in America," which was an immediate hit and has become the number one series on the network. Impressed with the production values of the show and with its runaway popularity, Cuban quickly ordered up an additional three seasons of the show. Francis has since created a production company called WILDHD to develop additional reality TV series concepts.

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How tall is he? How old is he? Who is he dating? Find out here.

Age: 43 years old
Birthday: April 1, 1973
Height: 6' 2"
Full Name / Real Name: Joseph Raymond Francis
Birthplace: Atlanta, GA
Hometown: Laguna Beach, CA

Check out Joe Francis hot pics and sexy photos.



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