Normally when you say a film is a suspected bomb threat, it means its box office prospects are the other side of dismal. However, the AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE movie took things to a whole new level yesterday when a Lite-Bright-like viral marketing campaign was mistaken for a terrorist threat:

Turner Broadcasting acknowledged late this afternoon that the suspicious packages that ignited fears of bombs across Boston today were magnetic lights that were part of an outdoor marketing campaign for an adult cartoon.

Turner was promoting Adult Swim’s animated television show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” in Boston and nine other cities, according to a statement e-mailed by Shirley Powell, a company spokeswoman.

“Parent company Turner Broadcasting is in contact with local and federal law enforcement on the exact locations of the billboards,” the state an e-mail statement said. “We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger.”

Even the Governor got into the act:

“It’s a hoax — and it’s not funny,” said Gov. Deval Patrick, who said he will speak to the state’s attorney general “about what recourse we may have.”

Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner Inc. and parent of Cartoon Network, said the devices were part of a promotion for the TV show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” a surreal series about a talking milkshake, a box of fries and a meatball.

Two members of the streets team have been arrested and charged with “one felony charge of placing a hoax device and one charge of disorderly conduct.”

Interestingly, similar campaigns have been in place for several weeks in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. Only nervous nellie Bostonites — doubtless anxious about the Red Sox’s starting pitching this year — made the terrorist connection.

And here’s your New Media tie in angle: the campaign was thought to be the work of Graffiti Research Lab but was instead found to be the product of a copy-cat vandal.

You may have heard about the most recent terror attacks in Boston. This is NOT the work of the Graffiti Research Lab. We just downloaded this link from youtube. It’s Just more mindless corporate vandalism from a guerilla marketer who got busted. Interference Inc, welcome to the world of being misunderstood, scapegoated, demonized and wanted by the law. Still want to be a graffiti artist? For more on this most recent terror attack from the axis of evil (corporations, advertisers, marketers) check out this civic-minded citizens post on Flickr.

You can see the actual Graffiti Research Lab in action here.


  1. It appears that the last link is NOT the Graffiti Research Lab in action but a video the viral marketers made about their campaign.

  2. Being one who lives on the town of beans, I was thouroughly embarrassed by the extreme overreaction and calls of hoaxes that went out yesterday in Boston.

    1)The signs have been up all over the city for weeks. People are claiming that it was “fast action” by the Noston police department and government agents in taking these down. If two to three weeks is fast action, people probably can claim the same dissatifaction with public offical reaction as the Hurricane Katrina victims can.

    2)It’s embarrassinmg tha the Governor of Massachuseets apaprently isn’t aware of what the word “hoax” means. In order for these to have been a hoax they would have had to be intedned to actually be bombs. That was never the intetnion of any of these things, so to call them “hoax” instruments is not only a gross overreation but also a misuse of what the word hoax actually means.

    3) the signs have been all over ten major American cities without a peep until yesterday. It’s embarrassing to think that the media and my state has made more of this than it actually is basically because they are probably dissapointed that they weren’t bombs. At least that’s what the local media was making it sound like last ngiht. Oncee something is deemed a non-story, media outlets seem to want to do everything they can to try to make it a story, especially continuing to report that yest another non threating sign had been found after long reporting that none of them were a threat?!?!

    4)The Patriots lost the AFC championship game and The Red Sox don’t start spring training for another two weeks. Both the Bruins and Celtics are on horrible history amking losing streaks. Apparently the Boston media needed to create soemthing to keep itself interesting until Red Sox season. Embarrasing, yet again, that we up here are that bored.

  3. Yes, this was a little silly, but in the pics and news video I saw of the devices, they looked a little sketchy. I can understand how someone getting a glimpse of this flying by at 60 MPH might think it was a bomb. But the only panicked calls I got were from my in-laws in Oklahoma; nothing from anyone in state. As much as the media is blowing this out of proportion, it was still a little irresponsible to put these things UNDER BRIDGES. To be honest, its a stupid marketing stunt for a half-baked (no, make that totally baked) show. I hope that they get nailed to the wall, because it hasn’t encouraged me to watch the show or the movie.

  4. Since I’m also a Boston resident — and was severely annoyed by the whole thing, particularly the traffic — I do have to wonder: Could this whole thing have been avoided if local police were much, much dorkier/hipper and into Adult Swim? (I am.)

  5. I hope Turner doesn’t give in and compensate these idiots for their stupidity. I saw some jackasses on tv earlier today saying how horrible it was to put the poor people of Boston though such an ordeal and how much it cost the police department and whatnot. I think they just wanted something to yell about.

    They’re not bombs or threats, and no matter how many people thought they were, you can’t arrest people because of your stupidity. Well this is Bush’s America, maybe you can.