Facebook Gets Vice, The Onion, And More To Make “Anthology” Viral Videos For Advertisers

The better Facebook’s video ads are, the less people will hate them and the more of them Facebook can show. The problem is most advertisers don’t know how to make compelling short-form video for social media. You know who does? Content creators like The Onion, Vice, and Funny Or Die.

So today Facebook announced a new video ad program called Anthology, with the stated goal of creating better Facebook video ads by teaming up advertisers and publishers.

Here’s how the company described the program in a blog post:

Anthology is equal parts art and science, pairing publisher creativity with Facebook advertising insights to create custom campaigns that meet brands’ business goals. The program gathers a number of leading publishers to lend brands their creativity, storytelling expertise and video production know-how.

The post says publishers in the program will become official Facebook Marketing Partners. The initial Anthology partners include Electus Digital, Funny Or Die, Oh My Disney, The Onion, Tastemade, Vice Media, and Vox Media.


Twitter has also been experimenting with different video ad programs, particularly Amplify, which pairs video clips with very short ads.

Essentially, when brands want to make top-of-the-line video ads for Facebook, the social network will pair them with the right video content creator. Together, they’ll make a video that showcases the brand, but that first and foremost is entertaining — way better than what the brand could make alone. The brand presumably pays the creator, and then pays Facebook to run the video ads.

In a way, Facebook is taking a cue from BuzzFeed. The millenial content and news site’s BuzzFeed Motion Pictures division makes viral video ads. They’ll take a brand like Friskies cat food, then make a hilarious video like Dear Kitten, where an older cat tells a younger one how to deal with humans.

Here, Facebook is turning all these other content creators into its own BuzzFeed Motion Pictures teams. If it works, Facebook could boost the quality of its video ads, allowing it to show more without annoying people and earn more money, all without actually having to hire video producers.