To promote its 20th season, South Park has put up seven site-specific mobile billboards around the country depicting scenes that coincide with the trucks’ placements.
The adult animated sitcom caught flack over their marketing ploy at three of the locations — the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The comedy series is known for pushing buttons on hot-potato issues, and isn’t afraid to make bold (sometimes jaw-dropping) statements through satire and pointed commentary.
Comedy Central’s chief marketing officer Walter Levitt knew the plan was risky, but thought what better way to remind people about South Park and the themes it covers — often before any other show.
“We knew some locations might not be pleased to have us out there, but we thought this is a perfect way to celebrate everything the series has covered in its 19 seasons,” Levitt told The Hollywood Reporter.
All of the billboards feature an image from a South Park episode related to the location and say “We’ve been there.”
“In some cases, the locals were not pleased to have us outside their locations and asked us to leave, but that was all expected, and we completely understand why,” Levitt said, confirming that they had been asked to move the billboard from the three locations.
The billboard in front of the White House featured a cartoon President Barack and Michelle Obama. South Park famously covered Obama’s 2012 election victory in the episode About Last Night…, which satirically depicts America crumbling in an orgy of hysteria and drunken rioting. The episode also includes audio from Obama’s victory speech, which took place only 24 hours before the episode aired.
The Scientology truck featured a scene from the 2005 episode Trapped in the Closet, in which the church and Tom Cruise were skewered.
South Park began airing its 20th season on Sept. 14 and has already poked fun at Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the singing of the national anthem.
The billboard locations include:
Buffalo, New York: Canadian Border
Colorado: South Park and Casa Bonita
Salt Lake City: Mormon Church Headquarters
New York: Trump Tower and Hillary Clinton’s N.Y. headquarters
Washington D.C.: Lincoln Memorial and the White House
Silicon Valley: Facebook Headquarters
Los Angeles: Church of Scientology, Whole Foods, Hooters, PF Chang’s, KFC
All new episodes of South Park air on Wednesday nights on Comedy Central.