'South Park' Lampoon of Native Advertising Highlights Important Issues

"South Park"'s most recent season taught us something important: Ads are here to stay, and what's more, they are the enemy of free-thinking consumers who are waging war with covert brand messages. If you have not seen season 19, I can sum it up by saying ads have become sentient creatures, running a conspiracy to control the world, hilariously exploring what marketing has become.

Like anything "South Park" lampoons, its take on ads -- and native ads in particular -- is a satire on a much bigger theme: Content has become commerce. We have reached a perfect storm; the democratization of news providers and publishers, the record increase of ad avoidance, and the insatiable appetite for targeted content ads are working. People are clicking on native ads. Publishers are getting traffic. Companies are getting messages to their audiences.

Native advertising has become one of the most successful and profitable mediums available on the internet. Click-through rates and conversion rates through affiliate marketing surpass almost every other form of online promotion. There are several reasons for this. The machines behind native advertising are good at understanding how relevant the content is for particular visitors. By their very nature, native ads feature interesting content that audiences want to consume. Native ads are not disruptive and enhance the user experience. These factors enable brands to connect the right people with the right content.

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