Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Guerrilla Marketers Mistaken for Real Guerrillas: Doubtless, many column inches will be devoted to the foolishness of the Turner Broadcasting System “public relations” people whose guerrilla marketing campaign on behalf of the Adult Swim cartoon show Aqua Teen Hunger Force led to bomb scares in Boston on Wednesday. And doubtless there will be those who take some satisfaction in the brief arrest of two men. Certainly, Turner was quick to issue an apology.

But I’m inclined to agree with Time’s James Poniewozik, author of the best television blog on the Internet, when he writes that the marketers’ real mistake was “what's the nice way of saying this?--overestimating the intelligence of the homeland-security apparatus.”

43 Comments:

  • At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Let's include the following additional information and thoughts into the discussion...

    1. The police that morning had found 2 conventional pipe bombs at Tufts-New England Medical Center and attached to the Longfellow Bridge.
    2. An employee running out of the Tufts-New England Medical Center told a security guard that "it's going to be a bad day."
    3. A series of phone calls coming into 911 about the sighting of suspicous devices didn't identify them as being as part of a marketing campaign -- and in the absence of that information, police did not know if they were responding to additional pipe bombs, "diversions," or a marketing hoax.
    4. While the police were chasing down the bogus 911 calls, Interference Inc. sent an email to its artists NOT to contact authorities about the campaign, which might have helped the situation.
    5. Turner reportedly held off contacting Boston police until 4:30 PM that day, well after the day's events had run much of the course.

    ** Would it have been prudent for the police to have ignored calls coming into 911 the rest of the day about supposed "device sightings"? That's a hell of an assmuption, and we all know about assumptions...
    ** Who were making those 911 calls - the marketers? Is this responsible behavior?
    ** Why didn't Interference Inc. and/or Turner contacting the police immediately with info on their hoax -- since both knew what was happening (given Interference had emailed their Boston counterparts to keep the info on the "down low", and the other saw fit to give it ongoign CNN coverage)?

    And while on the "homeland security" topic, let's throw in the Los Angeles Times stunt to promote the Mission Impossible movie that involved planting electronics in their side walk news stands -- "LA Times faces legal action over news-stand 'bomb' alert."

    Knowing the above may help put different "spin" on the day & the follow-on discussions of homeland security and corporate PR/responsiblities.

     
  • At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with anonymous (and there are even more issues as well which you can find with a quick search of the blogosphere).

    But to me it all comes down to being responsible advocates. Sure, edgy guerilla PR and marketing can be fine, but spend the time to get the permit! If they had taken the time to get the permit, this would not have been an issue.

     
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