Campaigns: Launch Promotion - Oh my god, they blamed Canada

Client: Warner Home Video

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

year.





Objectives



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

internet activities.





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

and parties.





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.





Results



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.



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