Time Warner Marketing Campaign Creates Bomb Panic in Boston
Posted on January 31, 2007In a unwise and poorly planned publicity stunt Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner, placed small electrical devices containing batteries and blinking lights in various locations around the city of Boston. The devices featured one of the mooninite creatures from the Aqua Teen Hunger Force cartoon. The mooninite seen on the devices found in Boston even has his middle finger extended as if he is sending a very rude message to Boston metropolitan area and its 2.8 million residents. Reuters reports that the small devices were initially perceived as bombs. The Boston police force was sent into action.
One mooninite threat destroyed -- but it would not be the last.The day-long scare began when a suspicious package was found on a steel beam under a bridge in the morning. Police stopped traffic on a major interstate highway north of Boston, cordoned off the area, deployed a bomb squad and blew it up.
Turner Broadcasting issued an apology and said they had given law enforcement officials the location of the mooninite magnetic lights in advance.By afternoon, at least eight other similar suspicious packages were discovered, each triggering a security alert involving emergency crews, federal agents, bomb squads, police and the U.S. Coast Guard.
If Turner Broadcasting really did contact law enforcement as they claim their message must not have gotten out because the city of Boston went into full alert to find and remove the threat and protect the city."The 'packages' in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger," Turner Broadcasting System Inc., a unit of Time Warner Inc., said in statement.
It said the devices were part of an outdoor marketing campaign in 10 American cities for an animated television show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" produced by its Adult Swim brand. They had been in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.
"We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger," said Turner, adding that it had contacted law enforcement officials to give them the precise locations of the packages.
Boston has every right to be angry at Time Warner for this stunt. Everyone knows that putting devices containing wires or batteries in strange spots all over town is going to raise an alert in this day and age. Turner Broadcasting's publicity team must not have noticed the bomb scare Mission Impossible III generated last year when small plastic boxes with wires poking out of them were placed in newspaper racks to promote the movie.The discoveries in Boston triggered the biggest city-wide security alert since the September 11, 2001, attacks.
It forced the U.S. Coast Guard to close the Charles River that feeds from the Atlantic Ocean into the city and caused authorities to shut down major bridges linking Boston with neighboring Cambridge along with several roads.
"This has taken a significant toll on our resources," Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis told reporters.