If Funny Or Die is the online equivalent to Saturday Night Live, then What The Funny is the Internet's In Living Color. This new online network from comedian Marlon Wayans and Funny Or Die co-founder Randy Adams curates, produces, and distributes short-form content aimed at multi-cultural and millennial viewers.
In fact, Wayans has created a comic playground for himself and his famous and talented friends, similar to what his brother did on the Fox TV series 25 years earlier. "I am doing what my brother taught me and am now teaching it to the next generation," says Marlon Wayans. "It's like Luke receiving Jedi training from Yoda and paying it forward." The mixture of WTF talent includes both up-and-comers and established stars, like Todrick Hall and Omar Epps.
And advertisers are able to get involved in the venture by way of a WTF Studios partnership with New York-based creative digital agency Click 3X. The shop is developing WTF sponsorship opportunities for advertisers and brands, as part of Click 3X's new content division, Multiply.
"This is the missing link," says Mauricio Aguayo, Director of Digital Strategy, Click 3X. "Advertisers are searching for ways to reach urban audiences but it doesn't work to push their brand message [forcefully]. What The Funny is already authentic on its terms. Brands can use it as the storyteller."
Brands have a variety of options, including product placement, traditional pre-roll, and extensive integrated content deals. "We'll consider everything," says Wayans. "We could create a show that takes place at Home Depot or at a Ford dealership."
Plus, the partnership with Click 3X enables WTF to leverage the agency's resources, which include live action, animation, design, and post production departments, as well as take advantage of its distribution and social media channels.
"Our goal is not just to achieve a high count of views, but views that count," says Peter Corbett, President and Partner, Click 3X. "The urban audience is particularly challenging to reach, and What The Funny connects with them in a distinct and holistic way." Talks are ongoing on a number of potential sponsorship deals but Click 3X declined to discuss further details.
WTF currently hosts more than 100 videos, and plans to upload new content daily. "I have nothing against YouTube, but we provide professional, authentic and quality videos," says Wayans. "We are a complete destination."
While WTF primarily lives online, the brand's exposure extends beyond the Internet. This summer, Wayans will star in Funniest Wins, a competition reality show on TBS to discover a "360 comedian," says Wayans. "Someone who can act in sketches, do stand up and perform characters." The winner will receive his or her own WTF series. Wayans is also promoting WTF through his other projects, including an upcoming 20-city stand-up tour and active film career. His A Haunted House 2 movie opens April 18.
Still, everything leads back to WTF. "This is my brand and I am very protective of it. No [content] goes out without my stamp of approval," says Wayans.