So... I write this blog based in Boston, which you may have heard had kind of an "issue" yesterday, as the entire security infrastructure of the city was nearly crippled as a result of, well.. an invasion by perennial "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" bad guys The Mooninites, basically.
Short version: A "guerilla marketing campaign" to help promote the cartoon and it's upcoming feature film was launched sometime back involving hanging up "Lite Brite"-style renderings of the video-game-like Mooninite characters in various places around various cities. Since whoever designed the things made the (bad) decision to "power" them via a strip of batteries and protruding wires, someone here in town thought one was a bomb, called it in, sightings poured in and everyone freaked out. Bomb squad, the two indie-marketing guys arrested, the whole shebang.
First thing: Yes, Boston now looks profoundly stupid, and we deserve to. People will be teasing Mayor Tom Menino about this for years. "No, Mayor Menino, New York is NOT being attacked by giant monsters... that's the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade." However...
Second thing: Whoever designed the things and put the battires and wires on the outside and didn't even consider that someone might find it alarming-looking: MORON.
Bottom line: Both parties need to resolve this FAST before they look any sillier. Boston: Try to get back the tax money you spent, take Turner's apology, slap the two kids who put them up on the wrist, don't do anything stupid like asking them to cancel the show. Turner Broadcasting: Promise not to do it again, give Boston the money, apologize, don't do anything stupid like canceling the show.
What's interesting to me is how plainly this shows the "niche" nature of entertainment right now, generationally and otherwise. Think about it: If the cartoon character depicted was something pre-Internet universally-known like, say, Bugs Bunny... this never would've happened. Someone among the first-responders would've said "Hey, it's Bugs Bunny. Somebody call Warner Bros and ask if this is some kind of commercial." Warners would've said "yes, it's a commercial," situation defused, no panic, no problem. But now? Yes, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" has been on for five years and is a HUGE cultural hallmark for it's target audience... but if you're not IN it's target audience of college-age-and-under YouTube devotees you've probably never heard of it, nor would you recognize a Mooninite if you saw one. All that would've needed to happen was for ONE person in the group of Boston first-responders to have recognized the icon as a TV cartoon character and this whole mess could've been avoided.