Tag Archives: funny or die

Art + Science = Facebook’s Anthology Program

Written by: Tom Edwards
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I recently attended the latest Facebook Openbook event in NYC. The topics included the latest video product updates and the unveiling of the new Anthology initiative.


Anthology is a creative brief based program that combines the insights and scale of Facebook with the reach and relevance of large publisher partners.


Facebook is providing access to insights rooted in detailed analyses of target audiences to inform publisher creative. Their goal is to combine art and science to inform the creation of highly relevant and shareable content that drives business.

Facebook Anthology Purpose

There are seven initial partners in the program:

1. Vox Media – Millennial-focused media entity targeting sports (SB Nation), tech (The Verge), gaming (Polygon), real estate (Curbed), food (Eater), and retail/shopping (Racked)

Vox Media

2. Vice Media – Millennial-focused media entity that creates over 6,000 pieces of content daily across 10 primary channels covering news, music, tech, food, sports, and fashion, all by young people and for young people


3. Oh My Disney – Brings the ability to leverage assets and properties of Disney in short-form content that is designed to be shared

Oh My Disney

4. The Onion – Satirical news content creator

The Onion

5. TasteMade – Mobile-centric video network that reaches 25 million people monthly


6. Funny or Die – Original and UGC comedy and pop culture content creator

Funny Or Die

7. Electus Digital – Properties include Collegehumor.com, Dorkly (Geek Culture), and Nuevon (Hispanic)

Electus Digital

In the unveiling, each publisher partner had created a mock “anthology” based on Facebook insights and a hypothetical brand/agency creative brief. Each anthology program had its own unique creative slant based on the insights provided by Facebook and the unique perspective of the publisher.

ForD Anthology

In the future, the publishers will produce the content and partner with Facebook to distribute the content through both Facebook’s media network and their own distribution properties.

anthology example

The Anthology program can be beneficial for brands and agencies alike. It is a quick way to collaborate with some of the most relevant millennial-focused publishers, as well as leverage proprietary user data and insights provided by Facebook.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Snapchat Ads are Coming
Snapchat ads are coming soon, according to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel. The ads will be around the company’s “stories” product and will be optional to view.

LinkedIn Now Tells You Which Actions Led to Higher Profile Views
LinkedIn is giving users better information about which actions encourage people to look at their profile page. Under the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section, LinkedIn has added a new area listing the notable actions the user has taken. This could include posting a status update, joining a group, giving endorsements, or making new connections.  The hope is that when someone the user is keen to work with looks at their profile page, the user can deduce what they’ve done to trigger it.

Pinterest Pushing New Editorial Product with First Co-Marketing Campaign
Pinterest rolled out its first co-marketing campaign this week to promote a new editorial product called Pin Picks. The site has partnered with 10 companies including eHow, Cracked, and Funny or Die, as well as YouTube star Michelle Phan. Pin Picks are topic-specific collections of Pins and Pinterest profiles that the company has been testing since August. Pinterest is raising the profile of Pin Picks with a four-week Halloween campaign, each with their own themes: horror, villains and superheroes, humor, and last-minute ideas. Funny or Die and Michelle Phan are taking part in the horror phase; comedy site Cracked will be involved in humor; and eHow’s participation will span all four themes.

Facebook Messenger has Friend-to-Friend Payment Feature
Facebook could soon allow Messenger users to send mobile payments to their friends. A Stanford University student uncovered the feature via Cycript, a tool for developers.  The payment mechanism is said to be similar to that used in Square Cash, where Messenger uses it to debit one account, and then uses some means to look up the bank account number of the recipien, and deposit it.

Global Social Media

China’s Instagram Block is Here to Stay
For years, Instagram was one of the exceptions to China’s great firewall. It remained accessible even though Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter were blocked. It finally went dark in September when users began sharing photos of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. It hasn’t come back since.  Of major US-based social media, LinkedIn is all that remains, and only because the social network agreed to play China’s game. Some people who post about sensitive topics get messages that their content is banned in China and cannot be seen by members there.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Dove is Trying Snapchat for Self-Esteem Effort
Unilever brand Dove is launching an initiative with Snapchat as part of its annual “Self-Esteem Weekend.” The brand has invited women to share their insecurities via Snaps, and as the Snaps disappear they can make room for more positive thoughts. Dove will have “Self-Esteem Ambassadors” on hand to respond to girls’ Snaps and provide real-time advice and feedback. The reason for using Snapchat, according to Unilever’s marketing director, is because “having a public conversation about your self-esteem can be intimidating.”

Branded Entertainment – The Fanscape Q&A

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Fanscape Q&A is a new feature, where CEO Larry Weintraub talks shop with top industry professionals. In our inaugural edition, Larry speaks with Funny Or Die’s, Mitch Galbraith and Davie Brown Entertainment’s, Marc Gilbar.

What is your definition of the term: branded entertainment?

Marc Gilbar: Branded entertainment encompasses any piece of content (scripted or unscripted, comedy or drama, series or one-off) that is made with a brand’s personality, positioning and marketing objectives in mind. Branded entertainment has the brand’s essence baked into the core of the content idea.

Mitch Gilbraith: For Funny Or Die branded entertainment means multi-faceted advertising campaigns built around custom-created videos.  When done right, the resulting videos aren’t commercials, they are funny videos – made by the same team that makes FOD’s original celebrity classics – that happen to contain a brand message.  The videos are supported by comprehensive distribution, promotion, and advertising via Funny or Die, Funny or Die channels (e.g. YouTube), and Funny or Die social media outlets (e.g. our 1.6M user Twitter following).

What is the difference between product placement, product integration and branded entertainment?

Mitch Gilbraith: We think of product placement as inserting a product/brand into a video, or series of videos, without integration into the story line.  This isn’t the approach we take.  We aim to deeply integrate the product / brand, often starting as far back in the process as concept creation.  For instance, we’ve built branded entertainment campaigns around several videos in Zach Galifianakis’ Between Two Ferns series.  Even though Between Two Ferns was a pre-existing concept, you can see the products were made a highly integrated centerpiece of the videos – not just the proverbial soda can on the table between the two actors.

Marc Gilbar: Product placement places a product on screen whereas product integration integrates a product into the story. Branded entertainment, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily have to include either. The amount of branding and product placement/integration will depend on the idea. Sometimes the branding will be minimal because the content speaks so closely to the brand personality and messaging that the partnership itself is valuable enough.

Please tell us a little bit about how FOD has gone about integrating products into your original comedy videos and what sets you apart from others in your space.

Mitch Gilbraith: We built our first BE campaign for the Major League Baseball Player Association back in early 2008.  Since then we executed dozens of successful campaigns for a bunch of top brands like HBO, Mini, Starter, Paramount, Anheuser Busch, Frito-Lay, Axe, Sony Universal, Quiznos, Pepsi, and many more.  We feel our success comes from a unique combination of assets:  top-notch and highly cost effective in-house Writing & production, a world-class dedicated sales team to walk the brand/agency through the process every step of the way, strong connections to celebrity talent, powerful distribution, and demonstrated expertise in making successful online comedy videos.  If you want to make comedic branded entertainment for the web Funny or Die should be at the top of your list.

From concept to production to uploading the finished product, what is the typical length of time of the whole process?

Marc Gilbar: It always depends on the idea, but assuming we already have a relatively simple concept nailed down the process usually takes 2-3 weeks. Technological advancement in filmmaking has raised the production values while lowering production costs, so everything seems to move faster these days.

What are some of your biggest challenges?

Mitch Gilbraith: At a high level, educating clients about branded entertainment is our biggest challenge.  branded entertainment is still new to most brands and many want to apply what they know about making TV commercials.  Most big brands and their agencies have lots of experience making commercials and very little experience making viral videos and there are some important differences.  Our biggest successes have come when the brand and their agencies allow us to lead the creative process within basic parameters they’ve set.  It can feel like a loss of control compared to making a commercial, but it enables our creative team to do what they do best – make funny videos for the web.

Marc Gilbar: The single biggest challenge is getting brands to experiment on an emerging platform. We don’t have the same measurement infrastructure that TV/Radio/Print media has, so it can be harder to track results. However, by creating original content, brands can tell more engaging narratives, reach their target more effectively and have the ability to become a viral phenomenon.

What do you see as the future of Web content?

Mitch Gilbraith: We think it won’t be too long and there really won’t be such a thing as “web content.”  Instead there will just be content and the web will facilitate its delivery to whatever screen (laptop, mobile, TV) is most convenient to the user.  There will likely be some interesting twists and turns between then and now, but in the meantime, we’re staying focused on producing the best comedy possible whether that be for funnyordie.com, one of our TV shows (Funny or Die Presents on HBO, John Benjamin Has a Van coming to Comedy Central, and others in the works), or feature-films (we are in pre-production on our first).

Marc Gilbar: I believe that it’s our understanding of “the Web” that will change. Content is content no matter how it’s delivered to you or where you watch it. Television and movie studios make content and sell advertising around it, we make content and integrate the brands into the story. Ultimately, what matters to consumers is that the content is entertaining.

Happy April Fool’s Day

Written by: Digitally Approved
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What follows is an excerpt from Larry Weintraub’s April Fool’s Day post to his Smart Marketing Blog that highlights some of the best pranks we’ve seen thus far.  What other ones have you found?

April Fool’s Day is like Christmas on the Internet. You wake up early and excited; ready to unwrap presents in the form of numerous pranks on websites.

The best present is always Google. You can always count on them to apply great minds to give you an in depth April Fools stunt that makes you ask, “is this real?” Today was no letdown. Google was officially renamed Topeka in response to Topeka’s recently renaming of their town, Google.

Click on the word Topeka and it takes you to a story about why Google changed it’s name.  Complete with pictures, deep links into a continuation of the story and even some great graphics on how to use Topeka in a sentence.

Next up is Funny or Die who today renamed themselves Bieber or Die after the kid sensation that has the number one album in the country this week, Justin Bieber.  Very well done.  I recommend you watch some of the videos, they are very funny.  Of course, make sure you ask your kids who Justin Bieber is first or else it will be completely lost on you.

Click HERE to read the rest of Larry’s post.

Sites We Just Love

Written by: Digitally Approved
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I fully understand that the wheel is not being reinvented here, but if you ever wondered where we go for some of our daily web fixes, check out the following sites:


AOL Fanhouse – for the sports geek in all of us.


Funny or Die – Everyone needs a laugh, right?


Mashable – Such a great place to get your social media news and views.


TechCrunch – All the reporting you need on gadgets, gizmos and the web.

Tumblr logo

Tumblr – As one of my co-workers so aptly described, “it’s like Twitter on ‘roids.”