By Jessica Heslam, Laura Crimaldi and Dave Wedge
January 31, 2007
A guerilla marketing campaign for a popular adult cartoon thrust Boston
into pandemonium today until 10 circuit boards initially thought to be
bombs were identified as battery-operated ads strategically placed
around the city by the Cartoon Network.
Federal, state and local police swarmed around the city as reports
poured in of suspicious devices, closing roads, tunnels and bridges for
The chaos touched off a traffic nightmare and prompted a tense press
conference from Gov. Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who
assured residents the matter was under control. Fears of a possible
terrorist act were quelled when it was determined the devices were part
of an underground advertising campaign for the Cartoon Network TV show
Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
The device features a character called a mooninite.
The packages in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger. They
are part of an outdoor marketing campaign in 10 cities in support of
Adult Swims animated television show Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They have
been in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York, Los Angeles,
Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and
Philadelphia.Parent company Turner Broadcasting is in contact with local
and federal law enforcement on the exact locations of the billboards. We
regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger, said a
statement by Turner Broadcasting, which also owns CNN.
A source told the Herald that a memo is being sent out to City Hall
employees notifying them that the devices are part of the marketing
campaign. Authorities said there are 38 devices in Boston and
City Councilor Michael Flaherty was fuming and demanded that Turner
Broadcasting reimburse the city of Boston for every dime spent today on
this serious public safety threat.
Its outragoues, reckless and totally irresponsible, Flaherty said. What
a waste of resources.
Todd Vanderlin, a New York City student, was visiting his buddy in
Boston Jan. 15 when he spotted one of the illuminated devices on a South
Boston bridge. He snapped photos of it and took it down.
I saw one on a bridge. It was glowing. Its like a light bright,
Vanderlin told the Herald.
Vanderlin said the device, which broke while he was taking it down, is a
light-emitting diode or LED that was manufactured in China. It consists
of four double D batteries that connect to a large capacitor and
photoresister, a device that illuminated the device at night.
Thats as complex as it gets, Vanderlin said by phone. Its a simple,
little, wiring thing. Its so harmless its not even funny. My friend has
it hanging in his office.
Vanderlin said he spoke with the manufacturer, Interference Inc. in New
York. The company had no comment earlier today and a woman said the CEO
Copyright by the Boston Herald and Herald Media.
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