South Park begins its 19th season on Wednesday, which makes it older than plenty of notable ad agencies. (Droga5 isn't even 10 yet.) To celebrate the never-endingly awesome Comedy Central cartoon, Brooke Wylie, a copywriter at Denver agency Faction, imagined if South Park were an ad agency. Check out the results below—with Wylie's write-ups and artwork by Faction senior designer Thomas Hutton. You might not hire them, but they'd probably produce some unforgettable work.
All images courtesy Comedy Central & South Park Studios.
Picture this. You're going down to South Park to see if you can't unwind, and you happen upon the agency of Marsh Broflovski Cartman & McCormick. It's no Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce—it's a perpetually snow-covered shop run by kids and populated by some of South Park's strange… er … finest. Every agency has a team with certain "specialties," and MBCM is no different.
• Eric Cartman, Native Advertising
Of course, Cartman of all the fellas would be the guy to bring the most controversial tactic since subliminal advertising into the agency's list of capabilities. Native advertising might be denounced as manipulative and morally bankrupt by its more staunch opponents, but it's popular with its advocates for encouraging fun, engaging content that brings in money for publishers and has the potential to drive meaningful results for brands.
MUST-SEE EPISODE: Watch "Go Fund Yourself" to see Cartman at his sneaky, opportunistic best.
• Stan Marsh, Podcast
Of the four fellas at the center of the South Park universe, Stan is the most sensitive, and arguably the most moral. In other words, he's the most likely member of the group to specialize in a form of media that most people associate with NPR. To be fair, there is actually a robust world of podcasts out there, some of which are incredibly well researched and produced, and bring real value to the cultural conversation. Stan is often insightful and could turn out some great thinkpieces, but sometimes he's just another one of the kids. So he could also spice things up with "slice of life" storytelling about getting addicted to mobile games with in-app purchases or the time High School Musical almost lost him Wendy's affections.
MUST-SEE EPISODE: Watch "Trapped In The Closet" for one of Stan's greatest forays into intellectual angst and hard-won life lessons.
• Kyle Broflovski, Case Study
Like his best pal, Stan, Kyle is prone to a certain amount of introspection, but more often than not, the series finds Kyle directly at odds with Cartman. He's often portrayed as the counterpoint to Cartman's excessive, devious nature. You might even say he's the case study to Cartman's native advertising. There's nothing more opposite to native advertising than a piece of content as transparent and fact-based as a well written case study. Kyle would surely champion clear communication and forthright honesty, asserting that showing consumers why a product is great is more powerful than attempting to seduce them with veiled advertising.
MUST-SEE EPISODE: Watch "It's A Jersey Thing" to see Kyle struggle with his own sense of morality in the face on an unpleasant truth.
• Kenny McCormick, Print
Even if you know nothing about South Park, you still most certainly know this line: "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!" For years now, print media has been on its deathbed, at least according to the pundits. But though it's undergone some major changes, print hasn't kicked the bucket just yet. Being dead (but not really) is certainly familiar territory for Kenny, who would no doubt draw on his own experience to create great print work for MBCM.
MUST-SEE EPISODE: Watch "Best Friends Forever" to see an instance where Kenny's death and subsequent actions were allowed to carry the narrative on an entire episode — an episode that won South Park its first Emmy.
• Leopold "Butters" Stotch, Apps
Butters is a suggestive little guy who is sometimes inexplicably cool (remember how sought-after invites to his Casa Bonita birthday party were?) and at other times he just misses the mark. There was the time he told his World of Warcraft-obsessed friends he was on his computer all the time, only to reveal that he didn't actually have a WoW account when he was invited to join the party. Apps are sort of like that. Every once in a while, an exceptionally great app will come along. This app will blow up in popularity and spawn a bunch of inferior imitations, until the next hot thing comes along and the cloners move on to a new target. There are great branded apps out there, and Butters would be just the guy to hit on a cultural touchpoint and knock one out of the park once in a while.
MUST-SEE EPISODE: Watch "Marjorine" for a Butters-centric episode that shows off his agreeable nature and ability to succeed in unlikely circumstances.
• Wendy Testaburger, Web Series
Wendy's temperament is much like her on-again, off-again love, Stan. She's smart and generally moral, but she's rather cooler than Stan. Wendy would certainly be the brains behind popular and informative web series produced at MBCM. The author of a school paper about the plight of bottlenose dolphins and donor of candy to starving children, she's got a knack for informative videos about any issue, even the hot-button ones most people wouldn't touch with a 10-foot stick. Think Ted Talks or Chipotle's often devastatingly on-point videos.
MUST-SEE EPISODE: Watch "Proper Condom Use" to see her in full-on persuasive mode as one of the ring-leaders in a gender war at South Park Elementary.
• Shelly Marsh, Blogging
Stan's older sister Shelly is a bit of a loner and has a real tendency toward meanness and even violence where her little brother and his pals are concerned. (Though when push comes to shove, she'll stand up for young Stan). Blogging has matured into a legitimate tactic for many marketers and brands, but it hasn't entirely lost its reputation as a haven for people to anonymously post snark or devote hours upon hours to obsessing on one pet topic or another. Shelly is a girl with plenty of emotions to let loose on the world, so it's certain that she would have been an early adopter of the format and could have turned her powers of attention-getting into best practices.
MUST-SEE EPISODE: Watch "Cat Orgy" an early episode that features Shelly babysitting Cartman to see the softer side of the angriest Marsh.
• Randy Marsh, Social Media
Randy Marsh began simply as Stan's dad. He'd steal the occasional scene, but he's since morphed into a fairly central character who is decidedly in the mix for many of the series' most beloved episodes. Much like social media, he's gone from an amusing and bizarre sideline to a major player. The same personality elements that make Randy such a favorite character would also make him the person most likely to take the lead on social media at MBCM. He would love the immediacy of the platform and would without a doubt deliver as many controversies as successes doing whatever he felt like out there in the wild world of social media.
MUST-SEE EPISODE: Watch "Crème Fraiche" for a classic example of Randy's propensity to get sucked into all that's trendy and go completely overboard in so doing.