Friday, February 02, 2007

Lite bright terrorists?

I'm interested in hearing what other people think of the hoo-ha over the Aqua Teen Hunger Force promotion up in Boston. On the one hand, it's pretty dumb these days to be sticking mysterious boxes around major metropolitan areas. On the other, well, it's pretty clearly a cartoon character flipping the city the bird. No one in the other cities where the guerilla promotion ran thought twice about it.

I tend to think that the Boston officials are overreacting -- they got some report on suspicious devices, got understandably worked up before they understood what was going on, and then couldn't back down once they realized it was a stupid joke.

Speaking of stupid jokes, I got the two new Adult Swim programs in the mail the other day (Adult Swim is a block of semi-adult-oriented mini-programs late night on Cartoon Network, if you're not familiar). "Saul of the Mole Men" and "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job."

Based on the titles, you'd think these might be pretty funny, but they're just like everything else on Adult Swim: Weird almalgamations of nonsequiters that seem expressly designed to appeal to stoners. If you've seen the "marketing" gurus the police arrested in Boston, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

One of the Boston Globe stories about the incident actually included this quote: "Was it funny? Maybe, in the right frame of mind. Adult Swim shows "do go over a little bit better with some herbal enhancement," said Ryan Ball, Animation Magazine's staff writer and Web editor.

I know the importance of niche marketing and all, but there's still something kinda disturbing about an entire TV network devoted to potheads. You know what I mean?


At 10:02 AM, February 02, 2007, Blogger V said...

TOTAL over reaction IMHO...

But then again - someone in Marketing/PR could have given someone in govt a heads up that they were pulling this stunt (perhaps that morning) so that if a "suspicious device" was called in - the authorities could assess the threat.

At 10:15 AM, February 02, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Overreacted? Hindsight is a wonderful thing. In the new world of "what if" they acted, the person that saw the character reacted and the police were in no position to predetermine the intent of this publicity stunt and reacted as well.

TBS or Time Warner screwed the pooch on this one. They probably should have meet secretly with the local officials and, at least, let them know that they were planting these characters throughout their city. Even sent them a prop so they could see what they were planting. Or at a minumum, given the city officials and police an opportunity to say "no" don't do this here or there, do it here or here instead.

This has now been blown into something negative and bigger than anyone initially intended it to be.

The city officials did what they are paid to do, react to a suspicous package. So, playing the devils advocate here, what if they did nothing and all of a sudden it is a bomb and people do get killed. What then? people get killed and the police and city get pounded for their inaction as opposed to getting pinged for their overreaction. A lose-lose situation either way they handle it.

I believe they did the right thing and reacted accordingly to a potential perceived threat.

It is better to have overreacted up front and paid the price for it then their underreaction and having to explain away their inactivity with dead bodies in a morgue somewhere.

Hindsight is a "wonderful thing", and so is "second guessing" a persons motives.

At 10:54 AM, February 02, 2007, Blogger AndyW said...

No hindsight required, anonymous. They did the same stunt in nine cities and the authorities freaked out in one of them.

Someone called in a possible threat in Boston and the authorities took it seriously. This is good. Continuing to freak out after is was clearly a prank, not so good.

At 12:55 PM, February 02, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the fact that other cities did not "freak out" means what exactly?

They were smarter than the boys in Boston? Or they were less prepared than the Boston authorities?

Seems to me the pedestrians in the other cities were less aware of their surroundings as well as the city authorities compared to the folks in Boston.

Sorry my take on this matter does not synchronize with yours. But then, you asked.

At 1:01 PM, February 02, 2007, Blogger AndyW said...

Well, you're in good company. A bunch of people at the paper disagree with me, too.


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