Turner Promotion Mistaken for Terrorist Threat

Boston Shuts Down Roads to Assess Danger of Ad Campaign

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The alien-like Mooninites of Cartoon Network's "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" invaded the country rather quietly earlier this
Members of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority police, the Masachusetts State Police and the Boston Bomb Squad respond to Turner ad campaign gimmicks that triggered a terrorist scare.
Members of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority police, the Masachusetts State Police and the Boston Bomb Squad respond to Turner ad campaign gimmicks that triggered a terrorist scare. Credit: AP
month, until one touched down at a Boston intersection yesterday morning.

Shutdown
The Turner network launched a 10-city outdoor marketing campaign for its film "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theatres" involving small circuit boxes labeled with the characters scattered across the streets of Boston; New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Atlanta; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Austin, Texas; San Francisco; and Philadelphia. The boxes had been in place for two to three weeks, but Boston officials perceived them to be potential bomb threats, temporarily shutting the city's Interstate 93, a key inbound roadway, a bridge connecting Boston and Cambridge, and a portion of the Charles River.

The campaign was conducted by Turner in collaboration with New York marketing firm Interference. Executives from the agency could not be reached for comment. Turner said in a statement that it is "in contact with local and federal enforcement on the exact locations of the billboards. We regret that they mistakenly thought to pose any danger. .. The 'packages' in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger."

Markey's not laughing
The stunt stands to bring a considerable amount of publicity to the "Aqua Teen" movie and its March 23 release. The film's distributor, First Look Studios, appeared to have no involvement with the campaign and directed all calls to Turner.

But at least one person found no humor in the outdoor ad campaign gone haywire. U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's telecom panel, said in a statement, "Scaring an entire region, tying up the T and major roadways, and forcing first responders to spend 12 hours chasing down trinkets instead of terrorists is marketing run amok. It would be hard to dream up a more appalling publicity stunt. Whoever thought this up needs to find another job."
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