On Wednesday a number of blinking, electronic signs were discovered in Boston on bridges and other locations leading to the closing of a highway and the dispatching of the afore-mentioned bomb squad. Turns out the potential bombs were just battery-powered led lights attached to circuit board versions of the Aqua Teen characters Ignignokt and Err giving passerbys the finger.
Two men were arrested and the Cartoon Network owned up to the guerrilla marketing campaign. "We apologize to the citizens of Boston that part of a marketing campaign was mistaken for a public danger," read a company statement, which added they understood "the gravity of the situation" and "deeply regret the hardships experienced as a result of the incident."
Do they really? Similar devices had been up for a couple of weeks in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia before a paranoid Bostonian said the word “bomb,” blowing up a small awareness campaign into an international story. Thousands of stories and newscasts followed, all talking about a previously obscure cartoon about a group of life-sized fast-food mascots, Frylock, Master Shake and Meatwad and their upcoming movie. Marketing failure? This is pop culture gold!
Below, the guerrilla marketers in action: