Thursday, February 01, 2007

IED promotion

Are Improvised Explosive Devices part of your marketing plan? Turner Broadcasting is giving them a go after it put bomb-scare-style panic onto the streets of Boston yesterday with a campaign for the Cartoon Network.

A promotion for Turner's Cartoon Network called 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force' (OK, lets not dwell on the title, can there really be hungry teens in the US?) saw electronic devices placed at bridges to project an animated cartoon image.


Great idea, lots of animation... except the authorities thought they were Improvised Explosive Devices beloved by insurgents of Iraq, but as already saw in the UK yesterday tactics first seen in Baghdad are being exported.

The IED-like things caused a day-long security scare that closed bridges, shut major roads and put hundreds of police on alert causing the biggest security scare since 9/11. Talk about your marketing impact. It is all very iconic given that the Aqua Teen crew (part of the Adult Swim strand) are local superheroes in the guise of a milkshake, a floating order of fries and a meatball who…safeguard the world (when they feel like it that is).

The discovery of the first device on a bridge halted morning rush-hour traffic on an interstate highway north of Boston and halted a train line. The area was cordoned off, the bomb squad were called in and the device blown up.

Nine more devices were found, with federal agents, bomb squads, hundreds of police and the US Coast Guard kept busy as traffic was frozen.

You can understand the panic. The devices consisted of blinking lights... wired to an electronic circuit board.
Turner could have brought huge chunks of the US to a standstill, the promotion was due to run in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

The trouble isn't over for Turner. US authorities are considering legal action. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said he was prepared to sue and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is "deeply dismayed" and outraged.

"It is outrageous, in a post 9/11 world, that a company would use this type of marketing scheme," he said. "I am prepared to take any and all legal action against Turner Broadcasting and its affiliates for any and all expenses incurred during the response to today's incidents."

Hungry teens to the rescue? Probably not.
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At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Dan Sumption said...

Can the US authorities not tell the difference between an animated LED TV character and an explosive device? Do the IEDs in Iraq have cartoon characters on them so people can die laughing, or are they still waiting to import those from the US?

In a culture of fear, anything can be percieved a threat, but really... get a grip!

Anyway, whatever you think of the prank, the subsequent press conference given by the perpetrators was hilarious.

At 3:43 PM, Blogger Dan said...


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