January 31, 2007

Boston — Piling Up the Bad Decisions

Filed under: Media — Tom @ 11:38 pm

Boston was apparently in chaos today as authorities shut down streets and train stations and rushing in the bomb squad to combat… a bunch of Lite-Brites.

When you’re one of the people in charge and your people send a major city into mass hysteria, what do you do? Admit that it was a false alarm? Try to figure out how law enforcement, who are supposed to be trained to recognize terrorist attacks, mistook a marketing prank as a major attack?

No, of course not. You let the media to crank up the hysteria, as MyFoxBoston.com did. Check out this screenshot from the Fox site — despite the “suspicious devices” headline, you can see from the (tiny) caption that they already knew this was advertising.

Wind ‘Em Up

Then you get out there and demonstrate some outrage. And then you go arrest the poor guy who had the misfortune to be hired by Turner Broadcasting to hang these things in Boston. And it doesn’t hurt to get an editor to talk about how somebody else should have to pay because your people decided to take the city to Defcon 1.

It’s now apparent that these things have been hung up in cities all over the country as part of a national marketing campaign. Turner Broadcasting has said they’ve been up for weeks. No other city has devolved into the kind of scene you’d normally call Snake Plissken in to resolve.

Boston, haven’t you embarrassed yourself enough? Are you really going to indict this guy and hold a trial and everything? Where’s the video of a Turner Broadcasting marketing exec being escorted out of his house in the middle of the night?


Update on Thursday: Further demonstrating that Boston officials are trying to cover their ass after this massive overreaction — Boing Boing reports that apparently, there were two fake pipe bombs yesterday that were totally unrelated to this marketing campaign.

It appears that these were intended to cause panic, being placed at a hospital and a bridge. And although officials believe they’ve identified the individual responsible for the fake at the hospital, no charges have been filed. Maybe the Boston police are too busy arresting artists.

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