Parody website The Onion is launching Clickhole.com to take on sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy that focus on highly clickable content and headlines.
Clickhole will launch in June and will put "content and sponsored posts side by side, with barely any distinction between them," Onion News Network host Jim Haggerty (played by actor Brad Holbrook) said Tuesday, according to the New York Business Journal
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The Onion, which recently moved its faux newspaper exclusively online, inteds to spoof sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy that promote clickable lists.
The Business Journal said The Onion's preview included the quiz "Which pizza should I have for dinner tonight? (presented by Pizza Hut)," a wordless slideshow titled "Six kinds of hay," and currently features "A Step-by-Step Guide to Clicking."
"People will climb into this click hole and find content so interesting they won't be able to keep it to themselves," the character Haggerty said. "Every post is engineered to be as shareable as possible, so it spreads like a deadly wildfire on social media."
Another example of Clickable.com's snarky humor is a video titled: "What this adorable little girl says will melt your heart." Viewers who are sucked in will watch a young girl explain how companies monetize adorable little kids, the Business Journal said.
Even The Onion's presentation mocked the advertisers.
"You all had a choice to embark on other paths in life, as first responders, inner city educators, Peace Corps workers," Haggerty said. "But deep down, you know you were better than those selfish fame-seekers, and that's why you chose the noblest pursuit of all: Digital ad sales."
Beyond the humor, the venture makes the point that humor sells.
"The brand is a great fit where a lot of other brands aren't," Joe Germscheid of Clickhole.com's partner Carmichael Lynch told the New York Business Journal. "We kind of embrace irreverent humor like no one else does, and The Onion is all about irreverent humor."
The Onion began as a newspaper in 1988, and has since expanded to include a creative services arm called "Onion Labs" and a nonsatirical section called "The A.V. Club." It parodies traditional news through stories and editorials, and often presents ho-hum events as newsworthy. Wednesday's headlines included "Mom Packs Encouraging Note in Own Lunch."
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