Adult Swim ATHF LED billboards cause havoc in Boston, MA

Aqua Teen
A guerilla marketing stunt for Adult Swim's Aqua Teen Hunger Force by Interference Inc., NYC turned the city of Boston upside down for a while today. It started in the morning with a report of a suspicious object on the struts of one of the bridges that holds up part of Interstate 93 running through the city. Bomb squad, police, fire department and all other emergency personel were brought in to diffuse what they thought to be a bomb. Four more "suspicious objects" were reported to be found around Boston.

Eventually the pieces were put together that it was a hoax and the objects that were found were part of a guerilla campaign for the upcoming Aqua Teen Hunger Force featuring Ignignokt giving the finger. An independent guerilla marketing group was hired for the task, although Turner Broadcasting is now taking responsibility for the event. Shirley Powell, SVP, Corporate Communications for Turner Broadcasting released this statement:

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 Swim’s 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.

Woops! The billboards had been up for 2-3 weeks most likely designed to be paired up with these billboards and are also up in 9 other cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.

Sony sure got a lot of flack for their graffiti, but that's nothing compared ending up with city officials shutting down the subway system or shutting down major roads, waterways and highways.

Will ATHF fans care? Maybe, and then only if they pay taxes.

Comments (10)

  • Robblink's picture

    The guys who placed the LEDs had a press conference:

    Feb 01, 2007
  • LPikon's picture

    I'm sorry America, but this story really goes to prove that the terrorists have won the war in the USA.
    When something that was a harmless outdoor campaign can create total pandemonium, this is proof positive that all terrorists objectives are being achieved.
    Fear and paranoia is a potent cocktail and in this case paralysed a whole city, undoubtedly causing economic damage.
    While without doubt, the agency concerned should probably have told the city council what they were doing, it's not as if the campaign was malicious in intent and the items concerned weren't designed to look like bombs as some kind of hoax to mislead the authorities.
    I'm not belittling the need for vigilance in today's troubled times, and have myself spent 10 years in the military in an earlier life, but this just sad!

    Feb 03, 2007
  • caffeinegoddess's picture

    Two people responsible for putting up the LED boards were arrested.

    Peter Berdovsky, 27, of Arlington, and Sean Stevens, 28, of Charlestown, were each charged Wednesday night with one count of placing a hoax device and one count of disorderly conduct. State Attorney General Martha Coakley said they were hired to place the devices. Both men were to be arraigned Thursday morning.

    Berdovsky, an artist, told The Boston Globe he was hired by Interference and said he was "a little 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 told The Globe.

    Berdovsky's attorney described the incident as a "misunderstanding."

    "It's very disturbing that what was just an employment for a struggling artist turned into some major misunderstanding," Michael Rich told WLVI-TV.

    Feb 01, 2007
  • bella's picture

    I only just watched that press conferance clip and I have to hand it to them, and the journalist who finally asked "are you afraid that if you go to prison, you'll get a haircut?"

    Sep 20, 2007

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caffeinegoddess I'm a creative director and copywriter with digital, integrated, and traditional expertise. I love sound strategy and great executions.