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 series 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.
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.