Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Name Is…

Why is it that when I heard that some advertising publicity stunt for a cartoon had backfired and shut down the entire city of Boston, I somehow just KNEW it would involve Aqua Teen Hunger Force? Well, that almost paranormal level of perception on my part was dead on: A third party marketing company hired by Cartoon Network to do a guerilla marketing campaign for the show placed dozens of small, lit circuit-boards in ten different cities across the US, each emblazoned in lights with the shape of a character from said show. Why no one else said anything about them is somewhat of a mystery, but in Boston, somebody noticed one placed on a bridge, and, security concerns being what they are, thought it might be an explosive device. The authorities were notified, and the city was brought to a screeching halt as State and Local police, as well as officials from Homeland Security, investigated. Cartoon Network has issued an abject apology, which they have also been airing every half hour during their Adult Swim broadcast.
I’m kind of torn on how to feel about this. On the one hand, this was a pretty stupid thing to do, considering the times we live in. They probably should have notified local authorities before they set this up so as to not alarm anyone. That would kind of defeat the purpose of the whole “Guerrilla Marketing” thing, though. They’ve put an entire city on alert, and cost the tax payers millions of dollars, not to mention all the lost revenue from local businesses that couldn’t conduct business during the shutdown.
On the other hand, it’s IS pretty damn funny. And there are much worse things that the State of Massachusetts and the city of Boston could be spending tax dollars on than promoting Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Like everything else they spend tax dollars on, for example.
I think an appropriate response to this would be to force Cartoon Network to do one of two things: either pay all the costs associated with the disturbance that they created, or else come clean and publicly reveal just what the hell that damn show is about, for gods sake.

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