Turner Agrees to Pay Boston $2 Million

In Wake of Botched 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force' PR Stunt

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The final price tag for Turner's botched outdoor promotion for "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" in Boston now appears to be $2 million. That's the amount that Turner and the city of Boston have agreed is fair to cover the cost of city workers whose time was tied up by the incident.
Police carrying away a light board.
Police carrying away a light board. Credit: AP

Shared responsibility
The 10-city campaign caused an uproar last week when light boards bearing the show's alien Mooninite characters were mistaken as bombs by Boston officials and resulted in a temporary shutdown of the city's public transportation system. Turner apologized and took shared responsibility with its agency, Interference, for the incident.

"We understand now that in today's post-September 11 environment, it was reasonable and appropriate for citizens and law-enforcement officials to take any perceived threat posed by our light boards very seriously and to respond as they did," the network and agency said in a joint statement.

"We are reviewing our policies concerning local marketing efforts and strategies to ensure they are not disruptive or perceived as threatening, and are committed to making any necessary changes to our internal processes to prevent similar incidents in the future."

Diminishing buzz
On the buzz front, talk of the PR stunt gone terribly awry has diminished as the week's other big marketing event arrived. "Super Bowl," "Super Bowl ads" and "Prince 'Super Bowl'" were all among the top five most-searched terms on Technorati.

"ATHF" managed to get a blip of a mention on "The Colbert Report" last week, but got no recognition from "The Daily Show" or "Saturday Night Live's" Weekend Update.
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