TruTV will debut the first four games of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday, and the network is preparing itself for social media reaction from basketball fans taking issue with having to watch the games on truTV as well as online “trolls.”

The social media team of editors, writers, graphic designers and community managers at truTV has a message for its trolls: if you’re going to come at us, at least bring the funny.

Beginning Tuesday, through the promoted hashtag #FunnyCauseItstru, the network is telling its detractors to up their games and to be funny when they take to Twitter to talk critically about truTV in their search to find basketball games.

Owned by Turner, truTV—the reality TV and comedy network—has the rights to air the NCAA tournament, along with CBS, TBS and TNT. truTV is the least known of the pack and has used the widely viewed basketball tournament as a way to boost its brand and promote its content by engaging with March Madness viewers who take to Twitter (often in less-than-favorable terms) to chat online about truTV and where to find it.

“This tsunami of hatred comes over the network for these two or three days following Selection Sunday, and we wanted to answer these viewers asking ‘WTF is truTV?’,” says Puja Vohra, truTV’s EVP of marketing and digital to the magazine. “We decided to take these bad lemons and make fantastic lemonade.”

Over the past few years, as part of an extensive brand evolution including a complete network refresh as a comedy destination, truTV has raised its comedic stakes – and wants trolls to do so as well.

In 2015 the network launched its #HaveUFoundtruTV campaign in response to the flood of “what is truTV?!”-type questions it got from basketball fans eager to locate the network playing his or her team’s game.

According to Forbes, after the 2015 campaign resulted in 273 million impressions (over 200 million were organic) and a 545% increase in positive sentiment, the network tried another self-deferential campaign— #truTVisathing—last year. Now in 2017 truTV attacks with #FunnyCauseItsTru.

Equipped with hundreds of pre-produced videos featuring truTV talent, custom social cards and gifs plus thousands of real-time responses created over the course of the campaign, truTV’s social media war room is ready to engage in a fun, self-deprecating and authentic exchange with its “fans.”


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