Get me the guys who shut down Boston

How many guerilla marketing firms can claim they literally brought a major city to a complete standstill? That’s what Interference, a NYC-based firm, did with yesterday’s guerilla stunt on behalf of Turner Broadcasting.

By placing flashing boxes at strategic points around Beantown to promote an adult cartoon seriesW013174a on the Cartoon Network, Interference inadvertently whipped up a Homeland Security nightmare in which security forces removed the flashing boxes and literally put the Hub in a lockdown mode.

Highways were jammed, buildings evacuated and lots of Bostonians were pissed.

So, getting past their poor judgment and the fines that Turner and Interference will undoubtedly be slapped with, what sort of image and reputation damage was done? For Turner, it’s a non-issue. They’ll have a black eye for a little while, fire Interference as their guerilla marketing agency and move on.

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But, what about Interference? In my mind, they’re gold. Unlike the average guerilla marketing firm or ad agency, Interference’s bumbling and poor judgment has put them right in the middle of a major national story.

So, while many conservative marketers won’t go near Interference in the future, many more desperate, edgy companies will be demanding, "Get me those guys who shut down Boston!"

Assuming Interference executives can learn from their mistake and blend cutting-edge guerilla marketing with some common sense, they could become the "next big thing" in one-to-one marketing.

That is of course, if they can stay out of jail.

11 thoughts on “Get me the guys who shut down Boston

  1. Bomber:
    I’m fully aware about the topic of the blog.
    Let’s keep in mind that not only does the author share his views here, but also those of us that visit his site.
    If you’ve noticed, I mostly agree with all of Rep’s take on things, but hardly ever with MSE’s warped viewpoints (just read the post above to see what I mean).
    The fact that he and I argue is nothing new to the blogosphere. People irritate people online and shit happens. It’s kind of like driving during rush hour, you know?
    When you get a chance, please tell me about your favorite lunch. You can send it to my email addy if you like.
    Take care.

  2. pete- and what is so genius about spending time in jail? you wanna be the next genius? why not fly a plane into the empire state building with a big logo on it as the world watches. so what if people die…come on, pete. this was a pathetic idea that got publicity b/c the creators were stupid and got lucky they were THAT stupid. as i said, if this was meant to trigger a bomb scare, i hope they spend many years in the slammer…

  3. Med Supply Guy & Lunchboy:
    How old are you? Three?
    The point of this discussion is the fact that marketers will think Interference are geniuses even if they spend some time in jail. It’s not about the two of you comparing Johnsons.

  4. lunch putz- if you took a few seconds to look, you would realize that i cut and pasted the “lite brite” from andrew and typed my own response. i dont care about grammar, spelling, or anything else that gets you off, while commenting on this blog. you however continue to show yourself and a moron with no life. congrats on giving yourself a great reputation in the pr world- seems your identity is well known (maybe if you are smart enough, you can find a blog dedicated to you) and the fact that you hide behind the name “lunch boy” is actually pretty amusing.
    tata, lowlife.

  5. MSE takes the time to capitalize “LITE-BRITE” but not “Israel.”
    That makes me wonder what the creative minds at Interference can do for your image and reputation. The fact that they are already dealing with cartoon shows tells me that dealing with you wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.
    Take care.

  6. andrew- you make valid points but are missing a critical piece of this. these were devices that had batteries and wires sticking out of them that were put in locations that terrorists are known to be looking to target- bridges, highways, etc and were placed on support columns. its not like these were put on the side of a garbage truck or something. it was the location of the devices coupled with the wires that sparked the fear.
    in terms of your comment about “Can you honestly look at the LITE-BRITE guy and tell me it was intended to set off a bomb scare” you are absolutely wrong on that. as a person who spent 1 year of college in israel, i can tell you that when there were bus bombings and bombs set off in cafes, no guy walked in with a sigh that said “bomber” on his forehead and held a package that went “tick tock” that stuff only happens in cartoons. instead, the suicide bombers would dress up as pregnant woman and hide bombs in children’s knapsacks or baby strollers and set off the bomb killing as many as possible. so, do you want to reconsider your question about lite brite being viewed as a bomb scare?

  7. The guy I feel sorry for is the one who actually went around and placed the fake bombs/lites under the bridges. He is in a whole hell lot of trouble right now. No wait – on second thought – he should have used better judgment. No doubt he’s the same person who politely agrees to watch a stranger’s suspicious luggage at the airport.

  8. Can you honestly look at the LITE-BRITE guy and tell me it was intended to set off a bomb scare? You say “who cares about some light brite pictures,” but the whole point is to spark curiosity, make people look twice, and give people “in the know” something to talk/blog about with other insiders who watch the show.
    They were going for reactions like, “Dude, I saw freakin Ignignokt hanging out on the highway! Here’s a pic I snapped with my phone.” Boom, it’s on the net and other fans are soon searching their towns for him.
    Good point about your friend and the thousands of other Bostonians who no doubt hate Lite-Brite dude right about now. I don’t see them tuning in anytime soon. It would be cool to track Aqua Teen’s viewer ratings by DMA over the next few months. Something tells me there will be a dip in the Boston area đŸ™‚

  9. great points andrew- you should consider writing your own blog!
    blogs are abuzz about this, both positive and negative. funny thing is that the folks in boston are PISSED about this- i have friends and colleagues up there who sat in traffic for hours, missed flights and had a horrible day for a stupid stunt.
    the fact is that the idea was poor, and heres why. if it wasnt intended as a bomb scare, then it was just a bad idea-who cares about some lite-brite pictures? same thing as the yodels who put the business cards on the subways advertising escort services and tarot cards- no one pays attention to them. but if it was intended as a bombscare, then they have some serious explaining to do, and if they didn’t think about the ramifications, they then are pretty dumb.
    if the repman thought this was so brilliant, why doesn’t he call in bomb scares to all the bridges and tunnels and when the news crews arrive, have a steelcase cube set up for the world to see?

  10. Interesting that many blogs are abuzz right now with positive reactions about the stunt. There’s a surge of people defending the campaign, and supporters of the show are rallying and uniting to talk about Boston’s over-reaction (including a small public demonstration in Boston this morning). Younger people are saying that the old and uninformed caused this to spiral out of control.
    Bloggers are posting things like: “Aqua Teen Hunger Force Fans Unite,” “Boston Police are Morons,” and “Look out – it’s a LITE-BRITE, it *must* be a bomb.”
    So, while the campaign may temporarily hurt Turner and Interference, the bottom line is that the tactic sparked massive attention for the show. Positive or negative, it has piqued interest in the program, and its current fan base is standing by the show. Kids are loving this because they think it illustrates that America’s authorities are a bunch of out-of-touch fools who can’t tell the difference between street art and a bomb, much less govern and protect our nation.

  11. from an image and reputation standpoint, you have lost all credibility as far as i am concerned. sure, these morons made national headlines, but for all the wrong reasons! this might be the dumbest campaign of all time and i bet you these guys are in jail and forced to shut their doors in a matter of weeks.
    lunch idiot- waiting for your grahmeeerr comments, lowlife.