Thursday, February 01, 2007

It's still funny

But not in Boston, where I fully expect the movie to be banned:

"It is outrageous, in a post 9/11 world, that a company would use this type of marketing scheme," Mayor Thomas Menino said. "I am prepared to take any and all legal action against Turner Broadcasting and its affiliates for any and all expenses incurred during the response to today's incidents."
Actually, what's outrageous is that a bunch of "1-foot tall signs" that "resembled a circuit board, with protruding wires and batteries" and "depicted a boxy, cartoon character giving passersby the finger" would prompt a police response that allegedly cost $500,000.00.

Boston needs to get a grip. Instead:

They arrested two men who put up the electronic promotions and vowed to hold Turner accountable for what Menino said was "corporate greed," that led to at least $500,000 in police costs.

Turner said the devices have been in place for two to three weeks in 10 cities: Boston; New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Atlanta; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Austin, Texas; San Francisco; and Philadelphia. As soon as the company realized the Boston problem, it said, law enforcement officials were told of their locations in all 10 cities.
Still no answer as to why the other 10 cities didn't notice; or freak out.

"We apologize to the citizens of Boston that part of a marketing campaign was mistaken for a public danger," said Phil Kent, Turner chairman.
But the rest of the country is left wondering: What's the Matter with Boston?

"Everyone can play a part by holding Turner Broadcasting to account for today's events," Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said. "Viewers, advertisers, license holders, can and should make clear to them this sort of behavior is reckless, irresponsible and illegal."

"Commerce was disrupted, transportation routes were paralyzed, residents were stranded and relatives across the nation were in fear for their loved ones in the city of Boston," Conley said.
Um, and that's Turner Broadcasting's fault? Hello? Anybody in there?

Peter Berdovsky, 27, of Arlington, and Sean Stevens, 28, of Charlestown, were each charged Wednesday night with one count of placing a hoax device and one count of disorderly conduct. State Attorney General Martha Coakley said they were hired to place the devices. Both men were to be arraigned Thursday morning.
I want to defend that case. I want to hear the state's argument that these were "hoax devices." I'm trying to imagine the law that would reasonably cover these things, and stand up to judicial review.

Those conducting the campaign should have known the devices could cause panic because they were placed in sensitive areas, Coakley said. Authorities are investigating whether Turner and any other companies should be criminally charged, she said.
IOW, they should have known the officials of Boston were terrified children with no sense of humor; or of valid dangers. If I lived in Boston, I'd be wondering about my civic leadership by now, not the wisdom of a couple of marketers.

"We're not going to let this go without looking at the further roots of how this happened to cause the panic in this city," Coakley said.
Try the mirror.

In Seattle and several suburbs, the removal of the signs was low-key. "We haven't had any calls to 911 regarding this," Seattle police spokesman Sean Whitcomb said Wednesday. Police in Philadelphia said they believe their city had 56 devices.

In New York City, local news broadcasts showed images of the devices being collected, and the New York Post reported that police confiscated 41 in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Let's see: that's 97 in two major cities, v. 10 in Boston. That's almost no notice, and certainly no panic, in 10 cities, v. a city shutdown and a national news story. Who is the source of the problem, again? And it gets worse. It took three weeks for anyone in Boston to notice:

Berdovsky, an artist, told The Boston Globe he was hired by Interference and said he was "a little kind of freaked out," by the furor.

"I find it kind of ridiculous that they're making these statements on TV that we must not be safe from terrorism, because they were up there for three weeks and no one noticed. It's pretty commonsensical to look at them and say this is a piece of art and installation," he told The Globe.

The Mooninite had the right idea.

" — a more obvious sight when darkness fell."

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