Merkley AD Talks About Fake Bomb Fiasco

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As noted here last week, Merkley Newman Harty art director Craig Cimmino was arrested last Tuesday at his Brooklyn apartment after his super discovered a fake bomb in the trash, a self-promotional piece Cimmino had made while an ad student at Syracuse University. We're happy to report that authorities opted not to file charges in the case, although -- as Cimmino explained today in an interview -- not before the AD had spent more than 24 hours at Brooklyn's Central Booking, much of it in a cell. "If I hadn't just gone through it, it would be a hilarious story," he says.

Last Monday night, Cimmino was cleaning out his apartment. Along with other garbage, he threw away the prop bomb -- which consisted of some wooden dowels and an alarm clock -- and forgot about it. The next morning, his building was evacuated and it slowly dawned on him what the commotion was about. He told police about the prop in an attempt to stem the tide of events that eventually involved the evacuation of neighboring buildings, helicopters flying overhead and a visit from the bomb squad. "The moral of the story is never say two words to a police officer without getting a lawyer," Cimmino says. "That was the dumbest thing I ever did. Much dumber than throwing out a clock that didn't work anymore."

Although he says police didn't seem to take the incident too seriously, he was handcuffed and taken to the station, where he moved around freely and talked on his cellphone, even granting an interview to a New York Times reporter who managed to track him down. Nonetheless, he was transferred to Central Booking where he spent the night in a holding cell with other inmates before being summarily released on Wednesday afternoon. "It was pretty comical, but at the same time I was scared to death," he admits.

So, was the bomb at least an effective promotional tool? Cimmino says he sent it to five agencies when he graduated, along with a note that read: "Are your ideas starting to bomb? Hire Craig Cimmino." It landed him four interviews.

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