Comedy Central’s marketing stars
Like them or hate them, Matt Stone and Trey Parker are marketing geniuses and many of us could learn some things from them. For the people that don’t recognize those names, how about names like Kenny and Cartman? Matt and Trey are the creators of the 15-year running “South Park” and have created a small empire from an idea that started off as construction paper cut-outs. With a successful TV series, a box-office hit (Baseketball) and numerous other side projects and endorsement deals, they are the epitome of success.
And now, they have finally cashed in on the most obvious and most sought after item of all for South Park fans: Cheesy Poofs. The favorite snack of Eric Cartman, these cheese puffs (basically puffed Cheetos) will now be sold in Wal-Marts beginning in August. The prediction is for huge sales, if for no other reason than the novelty of it.
But more to the point of this post is the fact that Matt and Trey were able to take a fairly simple idea and turn it into a blockbuster by following some very basic marketing rules that even the professionals can sometimes forget when getting caught up in details.
- Connect with your audience – South Park is such a tremendous hit because it strikes a chord in those of us fed up with the level of PC-ness these days. The biggest reason (IMHO) for the success of South Park is that they use kids to say all the things we’re told we can’t. Who can really be upset with a kid? After all, they say the darndest things.
- Make your message simple and straightforward – If it makes sense to a fifth grader, how hard could it be for an adult to understand?
- Avoid the small print – There are some times when this is impossible, however people never read it and tend to think the more of it there is, the less they can trust the message. The only mumbling in South Park is done by Kenny, and only the other characters can understand him. Sounds like legalese, right? The rest of the messages on South Park are right there in your face for you to deal with however you choose.
- Protect your brand – South Park is known for being brash, bold and very opinionated. It doesn’t matter what the topic, on every episode you know there will be moments that make you laugh and moments that make you cringe. That’s their brand. It’s what they stand for. Can your brand say the same thing (and stick to it)?
There is no question that once a show has reached the level of success that South Park has that there are some very smart marketers behind it. Matt and Trey are two of the best. Who are some of the best celebrities/marketers that you know? Timberlake? Gaga? Beyonce? Shaq? Kenny Powers? What do you think?