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Movie's Guerrilla Marketing Campaign Paralyzes Boston

Wizbang Pop! reported on the Boston terrorist scare earlier today. It turns out that the devices are a guerrilla marketing project for the Cartoon Network's Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie, not homemade LightBrite IED's.

BOSTON - Several illuminated electronic devices planted at bridges and other spots in Boston threw a scare into the city Wednesday in what turned out to be a publicity campaign for a late-night cable cartoon. Most if not all of the devices depict a character giving the finger.


Peter Berdovsky, 29, of Arlington, was arrested on one felony charge of placing a hoax device and one charge of disorderly conduct, state Attorney General Martha Coakley said later Wednesday. He had been hired to place the devices, she said.

Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner Inc. and parent of Cartoon Network, later said the devices were part of a promotion for the TV show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," a surreal series about a talking milkshake, a box of fries and a meatball.

Authorities are investigating whether Turner and any other companies should be criminally charged, Coakley said. It wasn't immediately clear Wednesday who might have hired Berdovsky.

At least 14 of the devices were found, Coakley said.

Of course Berdovsky being a performances artist it was almost a certainty that the was photographic evidence somewhere (hint: Boston authorities should be looking for 20 devices), but it's even better - video evidence of the "crimes" in commision...



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Comments (32)

I've been reading about it ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I've been reading about it on LGF and it's not a marketing campaign, it's a terrorist dry run. Damn muslamofascists are always testing us!

The Mooninites are Muslims!*




* The Mooninites are not actually Muslim. Their god is an Indian that turns into a wolf. The Wolfen will come for you with his razor

For all the flack Californi... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

For all the flack California gets for being "out there", New England has to have the STUPIDEST people in these united states!

Of course bryanD, they're l... (Below threshold)
jo:

Of course bryanD, they're liberals in New England blue states.

Anyay, I blame Bush for the whole thing. Can't think of how exactly, but it'll come to me.

I see a lot of people swapp... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

I see a lot of people swapping their BDS for TDS since they can sue Turner but not Bush. Tomorrow will bring a million lawsuits based on fear of going outside. There are electronic monsters under the bridges. There are Klingon's in the White house as stated by a dhimmi congress critter, when do my monsters arrive?

Actually due to the cowardly dhimmi's refusal to accept the fact that every muslem is a terrorists and do something about it the people in every large city are living in fear.

"Actually...the people in e... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"Actually...the people in every large city are living in fear."...Scrapiron, you need to get a carriage for your oxygen bottle and go outside. It's OK: God has a destiny for you! The mentally infirm are His creatures, too.

"New England has to have th... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

"New England has to have the STUPIDEST people in these united states!"

Not so much New England, but mASSachusetts, particularly Boston. Also not so much "stupid" as more like liberal drama queens.

Another arrest was made local, but the big thing now is the city of Boston and the state want costs repaid.

Why is Boston the ONLY city out of like 10 who have these things to go nuts!?
ohh ya* read above*

And........if it was a real terror attack, the only clue would be the mushroom cloud.....if these bright lights caused this much crap, holy crap when the real deal comes!!

Have no fear! Your governme... (Below threshold)
Yogimus:

Have no fear! Your government is here!

Note to Al Queda... set timers for under a week... (Which is how long ago they were placed)

Over-reaction can be just a... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Over-reaction can be just as dangerous as under-reaction.

This tells me that Government doesn't have its act together, imho. If I was a terrorist group, I'd put out easily discovered duds a day or hours before the real thing to generate confusion.

I can understand the initial warning, but shortly after that it needed to be completely understood.

Shows MSM types like Ted Tu... (Below threshold)
Pretzel_logic:

Shows MSM types like Ted Turner and his ilk still, to this day, do not take the threat of terrorism seriously. Look out Ted the next attack might be in your back yard.

Why is Boston the ONLY ... (Below threshold)
marc:

Why is Boston the ONLY city out of like 10 who have these things to go nuts!?
ohh ya* read above* Posted by: Knightbrigade at February 1, 2007 04:33 AM

Maybe because before the first "devise" was found an actual bomb threat was received and that is why the Coast Guard shut down the river.

Once the news hit the media people became more alert and noticed the cartoon crapola.

The may also indicate the ad campaign was a failure considering they had been in place for a week.

Seems to me I've heard noth... (Below threshold)
Chip:

Seems to me I've heard nothing but "we do not have to fear terrorists", or "there is no terrorist threat" from Liberals here on this blog and elsewhere. So tell me again why is it that the some of the first to go nucking futs over this are people in a liberal heaven called Boston? Over an Ad Campaign ??

Marc saves the day with som... (Below threshold)
epador:

Marc saves the day with some additional information germane to the topic.

bryanD continues to attempt to hijack and degrade the comment section with its comments.

You can't buy publicy like ... (Below threshold)

You can't buy publicy like this. Whatever they fine Turner, it is totally worth it. We had these signs in Austin to no effect. In Austin, we see "geurrilla" marketing like this all the time ... it was probably invented here. It's almost the defacto standard ... if your advertising isn't cheap and unprofessional, you aren't "keeping Austin weird" ...

That's why my blog is called Keep Austin Corporate. I'm just refusing to conform ;)

"...arrested on one felony ... (Below threshold)
jocrazy0:

"...arrested on one felony charge of placing a hoax device and one charge of disorderly conduct..."

Since when did littering become a terrorist threat? Some dude leaves blinkin' trash around and suddenly the moonbats are crying "save us from the blinky lights!" The sky is falling... no wait... The terrorists are attacking!!! Call out the national guard! Oh, no! where's the FBI???

I guess this means he now gets to sit on the group W bench will all the father rapers and mother stabbers and....

The terrorists have won.... I'm disgusted.....

The sad part is that Aqua T... (Below threshold)
Tony:

The sad part is that Aqua Teen Hunger Force is a hilarious cartoon. I advise all to watch it, you'll definitely bust out laughing. Especially at Carl.

The hoax device charge shou... (Below threshold)
jordan:

The hoax device charge should fall through, as it was a device with a specific purpose, to spread the mooninite message.

I don't get why people are ... (Below threshold)
AngryMe:

I don't get why people are surprised at this reaction. Are terrorists supposed to put bombs in packages that look like a bomb or have "Bomb" painted on the side?

If I saw a box with wires and batteries hanging out of it, I may be a bit concerned.

Maybe I have seen too many movies where bombs are put in phones, tvs, or stuffed animals? I tend to think a lot of people are being a bit naïve here.

All of you who think this i... (Below threshold)
Paul in Brookline:

All of you who think this is an over reaction, and delight in calling Mass residents names should consider a few things:

The devices were placed:

- On the support structure of the bridge that carries the subway over the Charles River, and over a major highway.

- Another major commuting bridge over the Charles.

- Overlooking a major subway station

- At the New England Medical Center

as well as other landmarks and crowded locations. An explosive device at ANY of these locations would cause massive casualties.

At least two devices resembling pipe bombs were found after the initial reports. We still don't know if they were connected to the other devices.

Several of the Sept. 11 hijackers are believed to have lived and worked in the Alston neighborhood of Boston. Two of the flights took off from Logan. After the attacks, I could sit in my office and watch the completely empty sky for the days that the airport was shut down.

So excuse us for being a little "sensitive" about that whole "terrorism" thing. After all, EVERYBODY knows that terrorists could never conceal a bomb behind something that appears innocuous. It just wouldn't be sporting. In fact, we should make sure that everyone understands that unidentified electronic packages placed on bridges and overlooking crowded places will never be disturbed.

Personally, I hope the morons responsible for this stunt get some time in prison to think about how clever they are.

What I would like to know i... (Below threshold)
RFYoung:

What I would like to know is how does this behavior run afoul of a law prohibitiong planting a "hoax" device ??

If you can construe this as a felony violation, how about posting campaign posters????

RFYoung said:"If you... (Below threshold)
jocrazy0:

RFYoung said:
"If you can construe this as a felony violation, how about posting campaign posters????"

Which was my point exactly. What IS next?

Which is exactly the point of terrorism...to make the terrorized jump at shadows and go running amok at every little BOO! Which is why I said, watching the second tower burning shortly after the second plane:

"What you are seeing is the biggest excuse for the authorities to deprive you of your constitutional rights."

So "littering" is now a felony terrorist offense BOO!
So "joking" is now a felony terrorist offense BOO!
(Think I'm joking? Just say the B word, K word, T word, or any other word that could be misconstrued in an airport. Hide and watch what happens.)
Don't "volunteer" to take your shoes off in the airport? Get felt up by the felons! BOO!
So going on vacation to New York and videoing your experience is now a felony offense BOO!
Go fishing off the dam? BOO! Go to jail.
Take pictures of trains? BOO! go to jail.
Take pictures of tall buildings? BOO! Go to jail.
Take pictures of ships in port? BOO! Go to jail.

I'm sure others can come up with their own examples of overreaction.

I have heard it called "ICE chipping". That chipping sound you hear? Oh, its nothing. Just the sound of your freedoms slowly being chipped away in the name of "protection" against terrorism.

As for "Paul in Brookline", thanks for drinking the coolaid, you keep the authorities hopping at "There's a blinky thing stick on the side of the building. It MUST BE A BOMB. Come save me!!!!"

BOO!

To me, the funniest/most su... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

To me, the funniest/most surreal moment was watching CNN yesterday before word got out that it was Aquateen Hunger Force characters.
CNN was reporting on it as a bomb scare and a mystery.
Turner owns both CNN and Cartoon Network. Both are headquarted in Atlanta metro. That it took so long for somebody to make the connection is priceless.

Felony worthy or not, Turner deserves a big black eye for out-right stupidity in advertising.
As of last night, Turner/Cartoon Network couldn't even tell authorities in Boston where all of the devices were supposed to be, let alone where they really were. Just plain idiocy.

"Personally, I hope the ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Personally, I hope the morons responsible for this stunt get some time in prison to think about how clever they are."

The persons responsible for this marketing campaign don't deserve jail time unless it can be proven that they intended the devices to be perceived as a bomb. Hanging junk in public places alone, absent any bomb hoax motive, is not worthy of jail time.

Lee at February 1, 2007 12:... (Below threshold)
snowballs:

Lee at February 1, 2007 12:02 PM,

Good point, but isn't it the advertising agency's job to predict and measure perception of their "ads"?

snowballs: Since the same t... (Below threshold)
Lee:

snowballs: Since the same thing was done in cities across the nation, and only Boston over-reacted, isn't it fair to say that problem lies in Boston's reaction not the act of placing the devices...?

SAN FRANCISCO San Franciscans are reacting more calmly to suspicious devices that shut down parts of Boston yesterday.

San Francisco police say 20 blinking signs advertising a cartoon show were scattered in various city neighborhoods without causing a stir.

and there's this:

"The 'packages' in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger. They are part of an outdoor marketing campaign in 10 cities in support of Adult Swim's animated television show Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They have been in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.

I think it is really unfortunate that taxpayer money in Boston was wasted reacting to this, but the fact that the over-reaction occurred only in Boston suggests to me the problem is in the reaction, not the act of placing the devices.

More terrorism to watch out... (Below threshold)
mantis:

More terrorism to watch out for: if you see one of these in a suspicious location, especially near children, call the bomb squad immediately.

It would be interesting to ... (Below threshold)

It would be interesting to know how they were placed in the other cities. Were they on bridge supports, like in Boston, or in innocuous locations where an electronic sign would be expected?

Since they were using magne... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Since they were using magnets and thus had to be placed on metal structures, it seems likely that bridges in other cities may have been used. Here's a post about at least one sighting here in Chicago, where a bunch were placed on El train overpasses. That post also links to a good quote from Bruce Schneier's blog:

The surest defense against terrorism is to refuse to be terrorized. Our job is to recognize that terrorism is just one of the risks we face, and not a particularly common one at that.

Indeed.

So...The Boston au... (Below threshold)
cirby:

So...

The Boston authorities think it's normal for terrorists to attach bright, attention-gathering animated LED signs in the shape of cartoon characters to explosive devices (which, by the way, weren't large enough to do squat to a building or bridge?

Life isn't like the Lethal Weapon movies, folks.

The surest defense again... (Below threshold)

The surest defense against terrorism is to refuse to be terrorized.

Well, that's an argument against vigilance. I'd rather have a few false alarms than have occasional bombs going off.

Well, that's an argument... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Well, that's an argument against vigilance. I'd rather have a few false alarms than have occasional bombs going off.

It's not an argument against vigilance, it's an argument against hysteria. Do you think it's a good thing that some people have become hysterical about global warming since Katrina? I don't. Hurricanes happen, but hurricanes like Katrina don't happen very often, and to freak out about something which may or may not even be related to the intensity of such storms is silliness. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be more vigilant, that we shouldn't focus on improving the capabilities and communication of first-responders.

Same goes with terrorism. We should be vigilant, we should make sure that law enforcement and intelligence agencies have what they need to communicate and respond to terrorist threats. But we don't need to be a bunch of ninnies screeching every time someone sees a lite brite near a bridge.

It's a cliche joke now, the old "If we do.....the terrorists win." In actuality the only way the terrorists win is if they succeed in terrorizing us.

" to freak out about som... (Below threshold)
Lee:

" to freak out about something which may or may not even be related to the intensity of such storms is silliness."

Nope.

Top scientists: Warming tied to stronger hurricanes

An international panel of top scientists declared Thursday for the first time that global warming is causing stronger hurricanes, such as Katrina.

The unanimous conclusion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, comprising scientists from 113 countries, said global warming "more likely than not" causes hurricanes.

"It is very important that the language is so strong this time," Barbados scientist Leonard Fields said. Scientists agree that "more likely than not" means more than a 50 percent likelihood.

I'd say a majority of scientists agreeing take this out of the "silliness" category.

Lee,What they say:... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Lee,

What they say:

comprising scientists from 113 countries, said global warming "more likely than not" causes hurricanes.

What I said:

something which may or may not even be related to

These are not mutually incompatible statements. In any case what I refer to as silliness is freaking out about it. I have very little doubt that humans are significantly affecting the climate, but the effects, including those on Hurricanes, are not so clear. Consider the consensus from the World Meteorological Organization:

Though there is evidence both for and against the existence of a detectable anthropogenic signal in the tropical cyclone climate record to date, no firm conclusion can be made on this point.

And consider the IPCC's own measurements of confidence:

...the following words have been used where appropriate to indicate judgmental estimates of confidence: virtually certain (greater than 99% chance that a result is true); very likely (90−99% chance); likely (66−90% chance); medium likelihood (33−66% chance); unlikely (10−33% chance); very unlikely (1−10% chance); exceptionally unlikely (less than 1% chance).

"more likely than not" is very middlin'. My point, which still stands, is that we shouldn't just go crazy about this just yet. More work must be done. And even then we shouldn't go crazy. Let's be sane and smart.




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