Saturday, February 03, 2007

Turner in trouble again

Speaking of Turner Broadcasting...

The company has been asked by the city of Boston to compensate them for the panic that ensued due to a marketing campaign that included several small cartoon lightboards.

According to the city, an anonymous caller alerted city officials to a suspicious device hanging from a tunnel. The device, and several like it, were placed all over the city. Since the cartoon lightboards were placed at several transportation areas, they were treated as bombs and as a possible terrorist attack.

The mayor of Boston said the city's public-safety response cost more than $500,000.

The lighted cartoons were created to promote "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," a show on Adult Swim, a late night cartoon show on Turner-owned Cartoon Network.

Due to the incident, Turner took out full page ads in the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.

In the ads, Turner said: "We never intended this outcome and certainly did not set out to perpetrate a hoax. What we did is inadvertently cause a great American city to deal with the unintended impact of this marketing campaign. For this, we are deeply sorry."

Certainly Turner's crisis management team has come out in full force, but I think the whole thing is completely ridiculous.

For one thing, the cartoon lightboards were up in nine other major cities (including Chicago) for two-three weeks without incident. They were also up in the city of Boston for weeks before anything happened.

A quick check of one of the devices would have made it clear to authorities that they were indeed not bombs and not a threat.

I just don't think Turner should have to pay the city of Boston restitution for public safety officials doing their job.

I see the other side to this though. Certainly we live in an age when terrorist attacks are on the minds of every American, especially those in public office. The 9/11 terrorists took over planes with just utensils; who knows what these lighted cartoons could have been disguised as.

I think there needs to be a happy medium between protecting this country, and taking every little thing as a terrorist attack. Unfortunately I don't know what that happy medium is. I don't think our leaders know either.

How do you find the fine line between tapping phone conversations between potential terrorists and tapping my conversation with friends about the night before? How do you find the line between stopping the wrong people from getting on airplanes and racially profiling?

I don't know the answer.

What I do know is, those lighted cartoons in Boston were just cartoons. I don't think Turner should have to pay the city for advertising their cartoon show.



At Sunday, February 04, 2007, Anonymous LA said...

I think that the campaign was reprehensible - particularly this week. I really don't understand why someone from Turner or Cartoon Network or a PR firm representing the corporations didn't call the Boston Police or the City of Boston - as soon as they saw the news on TV that there was the scare. And certainly all day the media coverage was extensive.

Or - why not alert the city and officials about the marketing campaign beforehand?

I'm not saying that Turner should have to pay the full restitution, but I think there should be some consequences for the irresponsible campaign.

I also think that there needed to be some thought and scenario consideration before the launch of the marketing campaign. Did no one stop to think - hey, this might be construed in the wrong way?

At Sunday, February 04, 2007, Blogger Medill Media Watch said...

I don't think Turner should have to pay anything unless they violated certain zoning laws and if so, then they'll be tried and likely convicted on various tort issues.

I do think that its being handled in an overly sensitive way. I can think of so many other marketing ploys that could be construed as terror attacks or scares and it wouldn't suprise me that Turner is targeted because it's Turner...a mega media mogul. If it were a Zainey Brainey kiddie toy store who placed those little machines throughout the city, would they also be met with such a hefty lawsuit?


At Sunday, February 04, 2007, Blogger Medill Media Watch said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At Sunday, February 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those crazy Bostonians...Bostonites...Boston people.


At Sunday, February 04, 2007, Blogger Medill Media Watch said...

I think Colbert said it best... Thanks for nothing, meatwad.

Cartoon Network


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