It had been a long time since I watched a South Park episode, but when I heard that Wednesday’s episode was about “Sponsored Content” I had to watch. The gist of the episode was something that Gary Vaynerchuk says over and over again. “Advertisers ruin everything.”
The stage is set when the principal at the local elementary school informs the editor that he can no longer distribute the paper at school until the content is approved. Jimmy, the editor, refuses and instead begins to deliver it door to door much to the delight of parents who are not accustomed to receiving news without it being obstructed by ads.
“There’s no ads, no sponsored content, no links to click on,” says one parent before he spirals into a rant about the insanity of reading content online:
“Do you know how long it’s been since I was just able to sit back and read the news? I got so used to getting news off the internet, but I feel like I’m always trying to chase the news somehow. It’s like I’m in a black void trying to reach the news story, but then the next thing I know, I’m reading an ad for Geico. So I click out of that and try to read the news story, but it’s not a news story, it’s a slide show. And I’m looking at the worst celebrity plastic surgery jobs ever. So of course I want to see the next slide of plastic surgery gone wrong, so I hit the arrow. But then the arrow wasn’t the arrow for the next slide, it was to take me for an ad for face cream. I wanted to get a new story, but I’m reading about face cream, and I try to click out of it but the ad is following me. It’s following me all over the screen! No! So I click on the close button, but it wasn’t a close button, it was another slide show! And I just want to know what’s happening in the Middle East, but instead I’m looking at the ‘Top 10 scariest movies of all time’! And that’s not the arrow for the next slide, it’s for another ad. Ahhh! But this, this is just news, and I don’t get lost in all the bullshit.”
Here’s the clip of his rant.
The episode ends on a cliffhanger, and there are still 2 more episodes left so I’m sure that they will wrap it up nicely, but the most important thing for us to learn as advertisers and marketers is that we must deliver quality content and not interrupt what someone is interested in, but instead BE what someone is interested in.