kanarinka on Fri, 2 Feb 2007 00:51:19 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Boston bomb-terrorism-art-marketing scare

Yesterday a bunch of LED signs with cartoon characters from a TV show  
shut down the city of Boston. They were installed on bridges,  
overpasses, etc.

City officials spent $750,000 deploying first responders to the site  
of the cartoons.

Now they have arrested two of the "artists" who were hired by  
Interference, Inc, a guerrilla marketing firm who was hired by Turner  

Bail for the artists is set at $100,000.

One of the LED signs is on sale on eBay for $5,000.

This world gets weirder and weirder.


Boston officials livid over ad stunt
Yahoo! News

By KEN MAGUIRE, Associated Press Writer 56 minutes ago

Livid about a publicity campaign that disrupted the city by stirring  
fears of terrorism, Boston officials vowed to prosecute those  
responsible and seek restitution, while others mocked authorities on  
Thursday for what they called an overreaction.

Officials found a slew of blinking electronic signs adorning bridges  
and other high-profile spots across the city Wednesday, prompting the  
closing of a highway and part of the Charles River and the deployment  
of bomb squads.

The 38 signs were part of a promotion for the Cartoon Network TV show  
"Aqua Teen Hunger Force," a surreal series about a talking milkshake,  
a box of fries and a meatball. The network's parent is Turner  
Broadcasting Systems Inc.

"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."

The 1-foot tall signs, which were lit up at night, resembled a  
circuit board, with protruding wires and batteries. Most depicted a  
boxy, cartoon character giving passersby the finger ? a more obvious  
sight when darkness fell.

Two men who put up the promotions were to be arraigned Thursday on  
charges of placing a hoax device and disorderly conduct. Authorities  
say Peter Berdovsky, 27, of Arlington, and Sean Stevens, 28, of  
Charlestown, were hired to place the devices.

Berdovsky, an artist, told The Boston Globe he was hired by a  
marketing company and said he was "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  

Fans of the show mocked what they called an overreaction as about a  
dozen gathered outside Charlestown District Court on Thursday morning  
with signs saying "1-31-07 Never Forget" and "Free Peter."

"We're the laughing stock," said Tracy O'Connor, 34.

"It's almost too easy to be a terrorist these days," said Jennifer  
Mason, 26. "You stick a box on a corner and you can shut down a city."

O'Connor said there's nothing wrong with being vigilant, but said she  
said it was ridiculous to shut down a city "when anyone under the age  
of 35 knew this was a joke the second they saw it."

Authorities vowed to hold Turner accountable for what Menino said was  
"corporate greed," that led to at least $750,000 in police costs.

As soon as Turner realized the Boston problem around 5 p.m., it said,  
law enforcement officials were told of their locations in 10 cities  
where it said the devices had been placed for two to three weeks:  
Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland,  
Ore., Austin, Texas, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

"We apologize to the citizens of Boston that part of a marketing  
campaign was mistaken for a public danger," said Phil Kent, chairman  
of Turner, a division of Time Warner Inc.

Kent said the marketing company that placed the signs, Interference  
Inc., was ordered to remove them immediately.

Interference had no comment. A woman who answered the phone at the  
New York-based firm's offices Wednesday afternoon said the firm's CEO  
was out of town and would not be able to comment until Thursday.

Messages seeking additional comment from the Atlanta-based Cartoon  
Network were left with several publicists.

A voice mail box for Berdovsky was full Wednesday night. The  
Associated Press was unable to find whether Stevens had a lawyer.

Authorities are investigating whether Turner or other companies  
should be criminally charged, Attorney General Martha Coakley said.  
"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.

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 believed their city had 56 devices.

The New York Police Department removed 41 of the devices ? 38 in  
Manhattan and three in Brooklyn, according to spokesman Paul Browne.  
The NYPD had not received any complaints. But when it became aware of  
the situation, it contacted Cartoon Network, which provided the  
locations so the devices could be removed.

"Aqua Teen Hunger Force" is a cartoon with a cultish following that  
airs as part of a block of programs for adults on the Cartoon  
Network. A feature length film based on the show is slated for  
release March 23.


Associated Press Writer Tom Hays in New York contributed to this report.

Copyright ? 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The  
information contained in the AP News report may not be published,  
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written  
authority of The Associated Press.
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