Client: Warner Home Video
Campaign: Video/DVD release of South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut
PR Team: Peter Noble PR
Timescale: March - May 2000
Budget: pounds 50,000 (fees and expenses)
South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut is the first feature-length movie from
the creators of the television cartoon series. One of the songs from the
film - Blame Canada - was nominated this year for an Oscar. Despite the
amount of violence and the frequency of swear words in the film, it
received outstanding reviews when it was released in the cinema last
To sell as many videos as possible during the first week of release
after 27 March by creating a mass market campaign appealing to men and
women aged 16-35. To support television and press advertising and
Strategy and Plan
In January, Warner Home Video approached its agency Peter Noble PR to
work on the campaign. The agency suggested flying over the South Park
creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, for three days of interviews with
press and broadcast media. The reason for this was twofold - they had
been nominated for an Oscar and had not done any UK publicity since the
launch of the television show three years ago. As they had not come to
the UK for the initial film launch, Warner was unsure whether they would
be available, but after negotiations it was confirmed that they would
fly to the UK.
The agency also suggested producing character costumes of Kenny and
Cartman, both as a back-up if the interviews fell through and to support
retail initiatives. The costumes were created by Rainbow Productions and
the characters were depicted as tourists visiting the capital.
The London Bus Company was persuaded to loan a bus for one day. Actors
were hired to wear the costumes and become the characters and on 27
March three film crews - one for the South Park web site, a news crew,
and a team from ITV’s Big Screen - accompanied Kenny and Cartman as they
visited popular locations in the capital including the London Eye,
Westminster, and Trafalgar Square.
Warner had the idea of a ’Blame Canada’ demonstration (one of the main
themes of the film) and the characters visited the Canadian Embassy and
played the protest song from the film. The agency also arranged for
Green Park station to change its name to South Park for the day.
Finally, PR agency Revolution was hired to create a student campaign,
which targeted 20 universities across the country with South Park weeks
Measurement and Evaluation
South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut entered the video charts at number one
and remained in the top ten for a month. It sold over 150,000 units in
the first week of release.
The Sun ran an exclusive picture of Kenny with his hood down on the day
of release. The Mail on Sunday featured Kenny and Cartman on the
open-top bus, and the Daily Star, Express on Sunday, and T2 in the Daily
Telegraph ran interviews with Stone and Parker. The Big Breakfast
dedicated an entire show to South Park featuring the duo on the sofa and
clips from the video.
Stone and Parker took part in 25 interviews over three days. These
included London Tonight, Big Screen, Showbiz Weekly, Sky News, NME,
Empire magazine, Radio 1, XFM, MTV, and VH1. FHM magazine dedicated four
pages to its interview with the creators in the July issue.
Although the enthusiasm for other South Park products has diminished
over the past year, the release of South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut
exceeded the client’s expectations for the title. The video and DVD has
continued to sell well and was Warner’s top performer for the first
quarter of 2000.