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It's official, the terrorists have won...

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Attempts at buzz marketing are nearly always lame, awkward, and obvious; that's about the worst (or, perhaps, best) that can be said of them, most of the time. Rare indeed is the word-of-mouth campaign that triggers bomb scares, panics a city, and shuts down a commercial district. Years from now, people will remember the day that Boston was attacked by Aqua Teen Hunger Force:


A guerrilla marketing campaign for a cartoon show about a box of french fries and his milkshake pal set off a scare that nearly shut down Boston's commercial district yesterday, as bomb squads closed highways and two bridges in search of what turned out to be magnetic-light versions of the cartoon characters.


Turner Broadcasting, parent company of the Cartoon Network, said the small electronic circuit boards, which hang from girders and bridges, are part of a 10-city marketing campaign for the animated late-night television show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." Such guerrilla ad campaigns seek to place products in unexpected corners and count on those who spot the characters to "get" the gag. [...]


Boston and Massachusetts officials were not amused. A train passenger spied the first magnetic object, which looked like circuit boards with protruding wires, attached to a girder under Interstate 93 in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston. A police bomb squad responded and blew up the device, leading to the shutdown of a railway station and the highway. For a while, the Coast Guard blocked off a section of the Charles River.

While this publicity stunt by Turner Broadcasting will rank among the legendary boneheaded business decisions of all time - and may justifiably cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars if the city launches a civil suit against it - the fact remains that any pimply kid could have identified the patterned image of a cartoon character on the devices and so exposed the whole thing as a prank. But there are no pimply kids on the Boston police force, apparently. More's the pity.




The BBC reckons they're facing up to 5 years...



'Jesus wept' doesn't convey the distress this would cause our lord and saviour.

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