In a first for publishers, Vice Media started an OnlyFans channel for Munchies, its food vertical, charging fans $4.99 monthly to access exclusive weekly videos.
Vice is no stranger to pushing boundaries. After all, its name is a gesture toward the edgy and uncouth aspects of life: sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll and the rest. This latest act has something to do with sex, but a lot more to do with food.
OnlyFans is one of the biggest tech success stories from the pandemic. At its core, OnlyFans is a subscription platform not dissimilar to Patreon—hosting artists, musicians and fitness gurus alike. But it’s best known as the platform du jour for sex workers.
The publisher debuted on the platform on Dec. 16, posting 10 videos including recipes for fried avgolemono rice balls, chicken fricassee and cheesy orzo.
Adweek caught up with Clifford Endo Gulibert, Vice’s executive producer of digital video, who explained to us why the company is turning to OnlyFans and how he’s thinking about content and building a community for Munchies on the site.
Adweek: Munchies is now on OnlyFans. My first question is, why OnlyFans, a platform known for adult content?
Clifford Endo Gulibert: Any platform that is growing at a rocket-like pace, as is the case with OnlyFans, which gains 500,000 users per day, deserves a look from digital publishers. OnlyFans does have a history with adult content, which we all know, but there is a fairly sizable contingent of nonadult content on the platform, from personal trainers to chefs and celebrities. When OnlyFans put out a call for chefs and food creators to join the platform, it set our gears turning on how a brand like Munchies could enter the space. After exploring the platform and talking to other creators, we found that the opportunity to connect with fans on a more intimate level that comes with an OnlyFans page aligned with how we see our engagement strategy evolving.
The pandemic has created a crowded digital space where locked-down audiences can face screens that are overwhelming and noisy with an overload of content. With all of our publishing platforms, we account for fans as well as passive viewership, but we wanted to make something just for the people who love us. Instead of always going big, we’re taking advantage of this moment to get more targeted and create a sense of engagement that you don’t find elsewhere.
How will these videos be distinguished from ones Munchies might post on other platforms like YouTube or Facebook? Are Munchies’ OnlyFans videos going to be, well, more seductive? Are you taking the term “food porn” too literally here?
Our content on OnlyFans is a departure from anything we’ve done before and exclusive to our fans on the platform. Even though as a brand we always try to not take ourselves too seriously, we didn’t want to make this just a gimmick—we wanted to take the work seriously. We wanted to provide an actual experience that is worth a paid subscription and special. The recipes we’re sharing on OnlyFans have not been published anywhere else, with each going through our standard thoughtful development and testing in our test kitchen. While some of the content may be cheeky, we filmed it with an idea of stripping down what a standard food show typically looks like. This concept led us to create videos with no faces of chefs, no talking, no text on screen, and all close-up shots, that make sight and sound as the focal point.