Archive for January, 2007

re: “Paranoia”

From the comments, once again:

A slightly-interesting, non-bomblike piece of guerilla marketing freaks everyone out and Boston shuts down as police run around blowing shit up and worried SUV moms report the ones they saw.

I mean, COME ON.

And he’s right: the instant we heard the news, every single commuter on their way to Park Street dropped to the ground in a foetal position, crying aloud for their loved ones and parents, and we stayed that way for hours — incosolable, shaken, and wounded. The Boston Globe poetically expressed the apocolyptic, world-ending truth of the day:

There was no public panic.

re: Another Quote

From today’s press conference — Martha Coakley: ‘Whoever designed it should’ve known it would’ve caused trouble and fear…’

[joke] You’ll have to forgive me for coming late to comment on this quote, but I was trying to determine if my evening nightcap enabled me to levitate or not. [/joke]

Homeland Security re: Today’s News

According to Yahoo, Homeland Security’s Spokesperson Russ Knocke issued the following statement:

“Hoaxes are a tremendous burden on local law enforcement and counter-terrorism resources and there’s absolutely no place for them in a post-9/11 world.”

“No place for them in a post-9/11 world?” Absurd and obnoxious. Looks like April Fool’s Day is cancelled this year, Tiny Tim.

From the Comments

David from MetBlog LA writes:

I think this is going to come down to free speech issues, because if this guy can’t set up these ads, folks like Banksy and other guerrilla artists could also be held liable.
You can’t convict someone for doing something people took the wrong way. There has to be intent, or negligence… and what was he negligent for? From what I’ve seen, these LED units looked like lighting fixtures, and nothing like a bomb.

I replied:

David,

I hope it doesn’t come down to free speech issues: the way I look at it is that it’s a piece of advertisement, not art, and I always feel weird when something with a distinct commercial objective takes on the language and supposed objectives of a Happening.

But maybe I’m wrong about Happenings, and should look at it as a piece of graffiti: is this just vandalism, then?

Your thoughts?

re: a Video of the “installation,” “device,” or “art”

Courtesy of Make’s blog:

From what I gather: the video doesn’t feature the company, by the way — just some unknowns.

Breaking: Arrest Made

From the Globe:

Police tonight arrested an Arlington man for planting the devices that led to bomb scares across the Boston area. Peter Berdvosky, an artist who told the Globe he installed the objects for a New York-based guerrilla marketing firm, was arrested at his home by law enforcement officers who were at his home for at least an hour tonight. Police have scheduled a press conference for 9 p.m.

The artist was arrested and not the firm?

Update — again, from the Globe:

“It’s all about corporate greed,” Menino said, adding that responsibility extended beyond those who placed the installations. “The people in the boardroom have some obligation,” Menino said tonight.

Menino on Greater Boston

This deserves a post of its own:

Tom Menino’s on Greater Boston right now. Some points:

(a) Menino talked to his lawyers, and they’re drafting a lawsuit. Says that the person behind this is liable.

(b) “This lame apology comes in at 5 in the afternoon … ” And the hooplah started at 9:00.

(c) “When did you first hear Turner was involved?”
“I heard this around 3:00 this afternoon.”

(d) Thirty-eight devices around the city?

(e) If I heard this right, Menino thinks the phone calls tipping the city off were part of the marketing strategy itself.

(f) Only one person from Turner’s talked with the city so far. And that was via email.

(g) Today cost somewhere between $ 750,000 – $ 1,000,000.

re: the City and State

On the flip side, what must our elected officials be thinking?

(1) As Skadz points out below: Deval Patrick: “It’s a hoax — and it’s not funny.”

(2) They shut down Storrow Drive, which, according to the Mass Highway Department’s “Traffic Volume Counts,” processes somewhere between 74,000 – 109,200 on average per a day.

Update: From Bostonist:

Storrow Drive eastbound was shut down for a brief time, and the MBTA suspended service on the Red Line and planned to bus afternoon commuters between Kendall and Park Street stations.

Late Update:

(3) That they want total information awareness?

re: Advertising

Today’s news makes me wonder what exactly happens at meetings for promotional strategies. Aside from David Foster Wallace’s story in Oblivion concerning the Mr. Squishy study group, I can only recall this example from Overheard in New York:

Mandy Moore: So, what’s the plan for the party?

Publicist: So, I was thinking, you show up at the party, right? And they check your name or whatever, and then, get this, a clown escorts you to your table.

Mandy Moore: A clown?

Publicist: I know, right?

I heard the phrase “guerilla marketing” used to describe this. Now, when the BBC had a Flash Mob Opera in the middle of rush hour, that was a good idea. That could be described as guerilla marketing. The same could be said of U2’s promotion for “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” when they drove around New York on the backbed of a truck. Serenity had a “viral” campaign, and they pulled theirs off without any trouble.

But to plant LED’s at high traffic locations in hard-to-reach, hard-to-discern areas throughout the city, near bridges and subways, all to promote a TV show that gets billboard space, commercials, and has a feature film coming out soon? What do they need the trouble for? I’m fascinated: what were they thinking?

Suspicious Packages in Boston

So, maybe these packages being found around Boston are not so suspicious to begin with (unless you don’t have The Cartoon Network).

Boston.com, CNN.com and lots of other news sites are reporting some suspicious packages around Boston right now. They thought they were possibly bombs because of where they were located.

Well, some people looking at the pictures they saw on the news saw something that looked very familiar. It seems that the “bombs” seem to be ADS for Adult Swim. If you don’t know, Adult Swim is the Cartoon Network’s late night adult programming.

There is even a flickr photo set here of some of the artwork that was used in this ad campaign.

The CNN article has Deval Patrick saying “It’s a hoax — and it’s not funny.” I’m not sure there was any hoax here, I think it was just some guerilla marketing.

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