What it will mean for marketers

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Turner's fiasco has raised a red flag for marketers looking to conduct viral outdoor campaigns. "There's a possibility that after what happened in Boston, these agencies will start having to hire lawyers," said Doug Wood, attorney with Reed Smith and general counsel for the Association of National Advertisers and the Advertising Research Foundation.

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association is taking the opportunity to speak out on the difference between buzz and stealth marketing, which risks running afoul of the law. "As marketers continue to struggle ... to come up with creative ways to get their message out, there's always that one little voice that says, 'Why don't we do this?"' said Word of Mouth Marketing Association Communications Director Paul Rand. "[The Turner stunt] is a good filter to have to screen things through."

Increased client communication can also help prevent snafus, said Bill Duggan, exec VP-committees for the Association of National Advertisers. Turner was working with a third-party agency, Interference, for the first time, yet took full responsibility. "In this partnership, the client took the high road," Mr. Duggan said. "The sensitivity of terrorism is one that needs to be considered."

"Guerilla-marketing companies really need to inform the cities of their intentions," said Stephen Freitas, chief marketing officer, Outdoor Advertising Association of America.
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