Boston Mayor Tries To Hide Overreaction By Calling For Guerrilla Marketing Ban

from the hot-air dept

In the wake of Boston’s massive overreaction to some harmless blinking LED signs, the city’s mayor, Thomas Menino, apparently wants to ban guerrilla marketing, which he calls a “nitwit technique.” It’s good to see the guy’s nothing if not consistent — though it’s too bad that he seems to be consistently hyperbolic. It seems pretty clear that no harm was intended by anybody involved in the process, and Menino’s continued blustering is little more than an attempt to maintain the facade that he and other authorities didn’t overreact and weren’t humiliated. If Menino had thought through this idea for a ban, he’d realize it was pretty stupid, if for no other reason than there’s no clear definition of what exactly is and isn’t guerrilla marketing. The term is generally interpreted as meaning low-budget and often unconventional marketing methods, which is sufficiently broad to encompass all sorts of marketing efforts of small businesses as well as big, bad corporate meanies like Turner Broadcasting. When would a small-scale, viral or word-of-mouth campaign cross over into Menino’s maligned guerrilla territory? When it makes a politician look stupid?

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Boston Mayor Tries To Hide Overreaction By Calling For Guerrilla Marketing Ban”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Wolfger (profile) says:

Re: but what if

I am so *damned* tired of people saying stupid shit like “but what if the LED boards were bombs?”. That inane babble. What if that abandoned car on the interstate is a bomb? Gonna call the bomb squad out for that one? And the one 10 miles further down the road? And the 3 more that will appear in the coming week? What about that cardboard box over there? Could be a bomb inside! Call the police!

People who justify the city’s over-reaction with “but what if they had been bombs?” are ignoring to important facts:
1) These things were designed to draw attention to themselves.
2) Bombs are NOT designed to draw attention to themselves until the instant they explode.
Armed with those two facts, and sane and rational person can easily deduce that these odd looking devices are simply odd looking devices, and not bombs. Bombs, in case you haven’t been paying attention to the daily reports in the news about bombs exploding, quite often look like cars, trucks, or people. Not once has any of them ever looked like a LiteBrite of a cartoon character.

spaghetti says:

And Who's to Blame for Real?

I’ve worked in corporate marketing for years. I am really surprised that the 3rd party marketing firm who completed this campaign for Adult Swim didn’t TELL ANYONE from the city.

I think someone in a white shirt (who sat around the table approving this idea) should kick his own ass for not supervising things a bit more.

It is too bad there were pipe bombs being laid at the hospital near by. Tough Break.

Anonymous Coward says:

Turner Broadcasting DID contact the authorities first, in every one of the dozens of cities the things were up in for at least two to three weeks.

The overraction on Boston’s part isn’t the issue as much as the fact that seem to be incapable of admitting they overracted, and that they seem to just need to punish someone, rather than admit they were embarrassed.

I even hear that the mayor is trying to get the FCC to revoke Turner’s broadcasting license. Hey, Mayor Moron…um, I mean Menino, Turner is a CABLE company. That means that the FCC has zero influence over it.

Nobody says:

Come one now…how the hell do you think a Lite-Brite sign of a Mooninite is a bomb? I love how he calls it a “nitwit technique” because the only nitwits I see are the people of Boston. When I first read about this, I was thinking, “Ok, how stupid can these marketing people be, placing unknown black boxes in random locations…” then I saw a picture of the sign, and I thought, “WTF!? Boston got scared of this!?” But of course, instead of admitting that they did something stupid, they’ll just play it off as the stupidity of someone else.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

People of Boston are nitwits huh? Last time I remember, the terrorist planes that hit the WTC came out of Boston, so the authorities are really under a microscope ever since then.

They shouldn’t have overreacted, but to be upset with the situation that once again brought an ailing and wounded authority system to a panic, Adult Swim maybe should have thought about the history of the town they chose to do the campaign in.

Also, if you’re going to generalize and say that all the people of Boston all felt this as a threat, then the true nitwit would be you. Good day.

chousama says:

idiocy, not ignorance

The fact that these signs were mistaken for a dangerous device in the first place just places the entire city staff (police dept., city officials, etc.) into a cesspool of idiocy. The person who reported said signs as such should be publicly hung for sheer stupidity. Seriously…I can understand how a suspicious looking device can be mistaken, and cause a city wide panic, but a light board? If we jailed people, *properly*, for stupidity, this wouldn’t be an issue.

Living in Liberal-Land (MA) says:

Re: idiocy, not ignorance

Don’t forget: Boston — the entire state of Massachusetts, actually — has a history of undermanagement and overreaction, which has a home in idiocy.

Case 1, the Big Dig: This nightmare was originally planned for 10 years and $1 billion. Final numbers? almost 20 years and $14 billion! MassHighway oversight during the project: What oversight? State’s reaction to first problem: “Everyone’s at fault, except for us.”

Case 2, Silver Lake School District: This is a public school (state-funded) in Southeastern MA. Recently, a 6th grader was suspended for showing outward signs of affection: She hugged her best friend!!! Apparently, our kids have to grow up in virtual isolation; they can’t even show support for each other in the most common way!

Mumbles is only the Tinkerbell for this idiotic liberal fantasy land.

But, I do have to admit one thing: All this does make life interesting in this state!

Steve says:

Reacting was not the problem

The problem was that they failed to determine the devices were not a threat for over 12 hours.

Just to be clear,

there was nothing wrong with placing the signs

There was nothing wrong with phoning in suspicious devices.

There was nothing wrong with sending out the bomb squad.

The problem was that the experts they sent out failed to correctly evaluate the devices.

Boston Blackie says:

Re: Reacting was not the problem

The problem was that they failed to determine the devices were not a threat for over 12 hours.

The timeframe was more like 6 hours.

Just to be clear,there was nothing wrong with placing the signs.

Wrong. Signage requires permits, even on private property. It is absolutely forbidden on public property or infrastructure.

There was nothing wrong with phoning in suspicious devices.

Correct. We’ve been told to be vigilant since 9/11. The call was made by an employee of the transit authority, who is constantly reminding riders and employees to be on the lookout for suspicious packages.

There was nothing wrong with sending out the bomb squad.

Correct. What other choice is there when a device with wires and batteries is found?

The problem was that the experts they sent out failed to correctly evaluate the devices.

Here’s where you show your utter ignorance. Bomb squads never assume anything. Just because one is benign, are they supposed to believe others are too? That’s what gets people killed. Too bad you have no clue, but if you’d like to volunteer to remove unknown devices, let your local bomb squad know. I’m sure they’d be happy to let you do it. The responsible people are Turner Broadcasting and the cowards at Interference Inc., who should have obtained permits for this stunt. They didn’t and as a result of their arrogance and stupidity, thousands of people were inconvenienced for hours. By the way, have you noticed how the a*holes at Interference Inc have been in hiding since this happened? No phone calls, their website has a Word webpage in place and no management has come forward. Cowards. I was one of those who sat in traffic on I-93 that morning. My time has value and it was wasted that day.

Mayor Menino is no Einstein, but in this case, he’s made a lot of friends. Guerrilla marketing won’t be banned, but any idiot business that tries any similar stunt without permits and telling authorities what’s going on will be criminally charged.

Some say other cities had no problem but here’s why we here in Boston are very sensitive to this type of scare. The hijackers on 9/11 started their trip about one mile from where the first device was found. That’s what was in the minds of everyone involved, because we won’t forget

Those of you on this blog who think you’re all so smart, are clueless. A stupid stunt like this over an idiot’s cartoon should cost those involved as much as the lawyers can get out of them. To Turner, Interference, Inc. and the two meatballs that carried this out, I say you’ve got a lot to answer for and the working citizens of this city won’t forget you.

AnalAvenger says:

Re: Re: Reacting was not the problem


I’m sorry to tell you this, but everyone’s time is money in a capitalist economy, not just yours LiteBrite.

I have to disagree with you in regards to the competence of the bomb squad. If you take more than 5 seconds to actually look at the device (use the ebay link up above) you’d realize that any child could notice what this piece of technology was. it had 4 exposed D sized batteries and a cardboard with LEDs on it. That squad needs serious training refinements if theyre even considering that to be even remotely explosive.

Rock says:

Re: Re: Reacting was not the problem

Hey Boston Blackie,

You should marry the guy who is sucking your sh!* covered organ and live happily ever after in the state of Massachusetts. Do you work for the city of Boston? It sure sounds like you are embarrassed about this whole thing. What would you do if you found a vibrator with lights on it? Fu@* yourself or call the bomb squad? I’m not surprised to learn you need permits to put a sign on private property where you live. The citizens of our country are loosing freedom one piece at a time day after day. Nowhere faster than where you live (except maybe California). I’m curious, was senator Kennedy involved in any way? That wouldn’t surprise me either. Yes we have been told to be vigilant, not stupid. Why not call a spade a spade. The city of Boston overreacted and as a result this guerilla marketing campaign was huge success.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Reacting was not the problem

Homeland Security determined very quickly that the “devices” were not dangerous. Why do you think they let the Boston PD and Menino take the lead on this one? Menino took it and ran with it, even after the feds decided it was nothing. If there was a chance this was something, the feds or at least Deval Patrick would have been the point person. Menino had to keep with this in order to avoid the embarrassment that comes with admitting they overreacted. So what else to do to cover that embarrassement that keep overreacting! And if they claim they didn’t figure out what it was, that is even scarier–a simple Google search and it could be figured out.

Verum (user link) says:

Shouldn’t they have done a little research before assuming a picture giving the finger was an explosive? Apparently Boston doesn’t know how to investigate. For the people supporting it in this “Post-9/11 world” you’d all be dead. They’d been up for three weeks. I’m fairly certain terrorists aren’t going to wait three weeks to detonate any explosives they’ve put up, furthermore I’m fairly certain that a terrorist wouldn’t advertise the location of its bombs. If this the kind of security we can expect in the future, then America doesn’t stand a chance. That said, mistaking lite-brights for and explosive device is retarded.

Sick of this bull... says:


To use a quote from a popular TV show:

“Gentlemen, keep in mind: Boston would have banned ‘Pinocchio.'”

– Maj. Charles Winchester, M*A*S*H
when conversing with Dr’s Pierce and Hunnicut about a “risque” movie, “The Moon Is Blue,” which was banned in Boston?

Should we add the ATHF movie to that list? If Mumbles gets his way, then yes.

nena says:


You and I in a little toy shop
buy a bag of ballons with the money we’ve got
Set them free at the break of dawn
‘Til one by one, they were gone
Back at base, bugs in the software
Flash the massage “Something out there”
Floating in the summer sky
99 Red Ballons go by.

99 red ballons floating in the summer sky
Panic bells, it’s red alert
There’s something here from somewhere else
They war machine springs of life
Opens up one eager eye
Focusing it on the sky
As 99 red ballons go by.

99 Decision Street, 99 ministers meet
to worry, worry, super-scurry
Call out the troops now in a hurry
This is what we’ve waiting for
This is boys, this is war
The president is on the line
As 99 red ballons go by.

99 Kriegsminister
Streichholz und Benzinkanister
Hielten sich für schlaue Leute
Witterten schon fette Beute
Riefen: Krieg und wollten macht
Mann wär hätte das gedacht
Dass es einmal soweit kommt
Wegen 99 Luftballons

99 Dreams I have had
In every one a red ballon
It’s all over and I’m standin’ pretty
In the dust that was a city
If I could find a souvenier
Just to prove the world was here…
And here it is a red ballon
Ithink of you and let it go

Think children says:

In an era of an executive branch trying to convince us that our major cities will be attacked as they sell an unjust war, that some city over-reacted to a marketing stunt is to be expected. That some marketing company decided to deploy these electronic devices in places they did not have permission to deploy them makes the over-reaction understandable. If any of those had been bombs, you loud mouthed buffoons would be calling them derelict in their duty. Why not just STFU and chalk this one up to our executive branch’s terrorizing of the country has worked just fine.

thinlizzy151 (user link) says:

Banned In Boston

Lite-Brites? Get real. NYC did not over-react. Beantown did, but where is the surprise there? This is, after all, the same burg that banned works of literature just because some blue noses had their prudery offended. But to be fair, W and his crew had a lot to do with this, these guys really know how to play the demagoguery game and get everyone scared out of their socks. What bothers me most is how stupid this makes us look to the rest of the world. Like we need any more bad PR.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Banned In Boston

NYC didn’t over-react b/c it wasn’t your authority system who allowed 9/11 to occur in the first place.

Those who consistently make comments about “idiocy” in grotesquely condescending terms, as if they in some way are better than people they are commenting about, then I think they should take the time and think of what they’re blabbering about instead of listing what they would have done in the same situation.

Because who knows what would have happened in other cities.

… And now I expect “We wouldn’t do that!” comments. Sure you wouldn’t.

Citizen says:

I think they get what they deserve.

This is all about limiting free speech. It was just a test run. They want to take our rights. They will find any way to do this. Democrat or Republican they all hail to the corporations who own dozens of nameless companies with operatives in government who do what they are told.

Vote independent, elect the guy who loves his country. I’d rather have a idiot who loves his country than a corporate genius who just wants to start a war to corner a market.

Please turn off the tv and vote as if it was your life on the line, because it is.

Ryan says:

post #4 is talking crazy

This is dedicated to the ‘Anonymous Coward’ who posted the 4th response.

You sir/madam, are an idiot. Turner Broadcasting didn’t notify any of the cities…because it wasn’t their responsibility. They hired an outside marketing firm to do these promotions and it was their responsibility to notify the cities (by way of filing for permits allowing the advertising). It is, however, extremely uncommon for these guerilla marketers to file for the proper permits because the fines imposed are generally less than the monetary and manpower cost of obtaining them.

Additionally, although it would be stupid of the mayor to try and get Turner’s broadcasting license revoked, it is DEFINITELY within the FCCs power to do so. The Federal COMMUNICATIONS Commitee, oversees all matters involving the transmission of television stations, whether it be by satellite, cable, or over-the-air. Furthermore, Turner Broadcasting Systems DOES operate at least one over-the-air broadcast station in Atlanta, which would be affected regardless of your misconception.

From the FCCs website:
“The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and CABLE.”

rstr5105 says:

stupid menino

Great, Menino just great. What’s next? Oooh I know, how about you ban the hazard signals on stalled cars! That might represent a car bomb dontchyaknow.

No, thats not big enough, let’s ban ALL automobiles in the city of boston! Yeah, that will do it.


Seriously though, I hate this state(MA) that I live in. It’s full of people who will take any chance they get to over react. This is just the latest in a long list.

Two examples I can think of off the top my head:

Students fail high school: Implement standardized testing.
Reason this won’t work: Because schools still aren’t teaching, just showing you how to “Bubble-In”

Teens getting in car wrecks: Well, we’ll just take teens of the road.
Reason this won’t work: Now, at 18, they still have no driving experience, and still get in wrecks.

Yeah, great, what the city of boston needs is a change in leadership. C’mon people, this is where it all started in 1775, let’s get together and do what we do best!

Vive la revolution!

bud says:

Menino's short political life...

You screwed up Menino! You may get Turner to acquiesce, but in the long run, people will remember you as the over-reactor and not to be the man at the wheel or the finger on the button. Hire three advisors, one Barney Fife and one Andy Taylor and watch them debate it out and use the best of their outcome. The third is advisor is Opie, a ten year old boy who knows a Lite-Brite may not be a bomb.

You have to think about these issues before you freak out; but don’t take too long. In the “Post 911” era, you have about 20 minutes in a Kindergarten classroom to make a decision.

Good luck next time, if there is one…

nonuser says:

Re: Menino's short political life...

One of the big problems in Massachusetts is that there’s only one political party. Yes, a string of Republican governors were elected before Deval Patrick, but that was mostly the voters trying to provide counterweight to the overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. Unfortunately the GOP couldn’t come up with even a halfway interesting candidate this time.

I know that Turner just wants to put the incident behind them, but I’d like to see an itemization of the $1 million in costs Boston says it incurred.

Menino started out as a good mayor but he’s been around much too long. He’s become arrogant and dictatorial, and has trouble separating his personal interests from the city’s. For example, he just commissioned an architectural study to build a showcase City Hall on prime real estate on the waterfront, even though there is a perfectly functional (albeit unbeloved) building downtown. The idea that one of our top tourist attractions would be a splashy monument to these greedy pols makes me ill. Yet there has been little outcry about it… the local press is apparently cowed.

So maybe exposing Boston and its mayor to the ridicule of world opinion isn’t such a bad thing.

snerdly mortsnerd says:

Some say other cities had no problem but here’s why we here in Boston are very sensitive to this type of scare. The hijackers on 9/11 started their trip about one mile from where the first device was found. That’s what was in the minds of everyone involved, because we won’t forget

Ohh get over yourself Boston Blackie.

New York City is where the hijackers on 9/11 ENDED their trip, and the police dept/mayor didn’t act like a skirted ninnies in the Big Apple.

Turner and Interference are the BIG WINNERS in all of this, in that a half a million is a BARGAIN for this kind of exposure – and because it makes the establishment look like idjits, it’s also VERY well targetted.

And Menino and Boston?? Well, they’ve been a laughingstock for quite a while, so this just adds to their “legend”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Thanks for calling Boston a “laughingstock”. The response in this situation was called for. God forbid they didn’t react and people got killed. Menino’s an idiot. His problem is that “someone must pay”! This wasn’t a terrorist attack, it was a misunderstanding. The only one’s who could be to blame are the 3rd party marketing company – especially one of the business major executives that do nothing all day. The idea that those two guys are actually on trial is absurd, and their press conference was the best thing I’ve heard in a long time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“The idea that those two guys are actually on trial is absurd, and their press conference was the best thing I’ve heard in a long time.”

And that is exactly the issue. Rather than just come out and say “We overreacted. Sorry.”, Boston seems bound and determined to punish someone to cover their asses and deny their embarassment. The overreaction is not the problem. The refusal to admit to it is. And Merino is an idiot who should be tarred and feathered.

Boston Blackie’s comments are the most idiotic I have read here. As others pointed out, the planes ENDED in NYC, and thousands died as a result. NYC has a REAL reason to be afraid of terrorism, but they aren’t. They live their lives without fear. They don’t overreact every time someone sneezes. Too bad you can’t say the same for Boston.

911justice (user link) says:

Re: Re: Anonymous Coward you really are a Coward a

You wrote “the planes ended in NYC’, did you loose anyone on those planes? If not, then perhaps you should shut. My mother was tortured and killed on American Flight 11 which left Boston and there are 200 families from MA who suffered the same catastrophic loss.

Do not dare try to join or comment on our pain, anywhere, anytime! The planes left with people from Boston/MA/New England for the most part so yes we do not see the humor in this marketing. Those lost had no choice but to die, but you have a choice to not write such an insane and insensitive comment. I was born and raised in Boston and WE WILL NEVER FORGET 9/11 so you unless you are a 9/11 family member you should shut. I have met many NYC 9/11 family members and we have talked about Boson’s reaction and they understand BPD’s response. I have many more good friends now due a shared loss from NYC.

I agree BPD should have been able to process and assess the threat much faster, but do not dare speak that Boston did not suffer that day, we all did. I just returned from Germany after putting a 9/11 direct co-conspirator in jail, after working on a trial for more than three years overseas so you could be free to write your dribble.

I served my country and my families, but when you write about something you do not know about perhaps you should shut up.

This is not about Boston idiots or NYC idiots, but rather about people who still today who are plotting to kill you and me whether or not you want believe this or not.

Yes, these “stupid little lights” should have been assessed far quicker I repeat and agree with all on that.

However, do not blame the officers for doing their job and following the law by writing insane comments like the “planes ended in nyc” while forgetting the people onboard and their families back in Boston.

As far as the idiots that put the signs up and their press conference, well all they had to do was apologize and this would be over. However, iinstead they showed zero remorse or respect for the officers both from the BPD and BFD who responded to their prank as a matter of law, so they can rot in jail for five years and see how funny that is, got it.

Spiderman says:

Re: Re: Re: Anonymous Coward you really are a Cowa

“As far as the idiots that put the signs up and their press conference, well all they had to do was apologize and this would be over. However, iinstead they showed zero remorse or respect for the officers both from the BPD and BFD who responded to their prank as a matter of law, so they can rot in jail for five years and see how funny that is, got it.”

And why would they apologize? THEY did NOTHING wrong. I would send money to support them. Would you put a McDonalds employee in jail for serving TransFat? How about those Cigarette commercials that leave body parts all over? it was a harmless prank, NObody got hurt, except of course your bostonian feelings. Grow Up man.

911ReactionJustice says:

Re: Re: Re: Anonymous Coward you really are a Cowa


As a family member of a 9/11 victim, i truly sympathize and am sorry for your loss. I understand how you want justice for those who have suffered. Have you made any attempts to meet family members of those killed in Afghanistan – innocent indigenous civilians, not US armed forces members – in the war that was fought in your name. Their only sin was to live in the coutry that had been overrun by religious conservatives who came to an arrangement with rogue Saudi billionaire.

What about the family members of those civilians killed in Iraq – killed in a war against a dictator whom they did not elect, against whom we had no specific cause for action, and who had no links whatsoever to 9/11 or to radical Islam. The most conservative estimate for deaths there has put the number at 20,000 and rising. How does that compare to the number of Bostonians on the 9/11 planes?


911justice (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 911reactionjustice


Thank you. Yes, I did actually in Afghanistan not in Iraq. The locals understood in part because back then (when we were first there) we were welcomed with open arms by the indigenous natives you speak of, not by the foreign fighters who invaded their country to use as their own, while preparing to kill our people on 9/11, afterwards to present.

I agree with your underlying point about civilian deaths, but I never wrote that 911 justice was the war in Iraq. I know younger soldiers who enlisted because of 9/11 and they and I eagerly await change in DC., I will leave it at that. We pissed away a lot of goodwill the last three and half years, goodwill we need to win back to win the much longer war we all are writing about in general terms.

However, this is outside the forum’s scope about what happened in Boston, right? Althought, it is about politicians run amok.

I guess I can only grieve so much and for me I prioritize my grief, in other words Americans first. This does not mean we do not care about what happens to civilians elsewhere.

As far as the idiots who were arrested I mispoke in my last post, the idiot defendants deserve a fair and speedy trial first before a jury of their Boston peers and then we shall see whether the whole thing was an overeaction. I think that they might want to rethink their defense because their mouths are their own worst enemy and their lawyer clearly needs to control his clients in order to protect them.

As far as the million dollar tab, Turner should pay a big part, but not all. As, I wrote before there should be a greater emphasis on accurately gauging the time it took to assess the real threat in Boston it seems long, so maybe the politicians running the show “overreacted”.

I was not there firsthand, but in doing so these politicians overprotected the citizens of Boston, that day. That is a good thing right?, rather than waking up and seeing part of your sklyine missing because someone did not report a suspicous truck or package(s) after another attack.

Finally, my experience with real terrorists is they do not give you warning when they hit nor do they “advertise”.

ps: I am sorry for your loss also, as you know I understand civilian deaths from war, as my mother was a civilian on that first plane from Boston, as were almost all of the rest lost on 9/11. I need to think of those 3,000 Americans and global civilians lost and the 3,000 US soldiers deaths first. I hope you understand.

– 911justice

UR12 says:

Re: Re: Re: Anonymous Coward you really are a Cowa

Anonymous Coward you really are a Coward

That’s funny, coming from someone who is also posting anonymously. Pot, meet kettle. Perhaps you should post as “Self Righteous Hypocrite”. Do you think you are the only one who has ever lost a loved one? Get over yourself. You mother should be ashamed of you for the way you are trying to exploit her death.

Anonymous Coward says:

And here is where the vehement supporters of City of Boston fail to see the irony of the situation.

To paraphrase: Any evil looking object with exposed wires and a battery could be a bomb.

Problem is, that anything from a cellphone with a headset and a Jolly Roger novelty cover, to laptop with a USB hard drive attached and a sticker with the Arabic word for “Hope” fit this bill. And yes, either device, and everything in between COULD very well be a bomb or aerosol delivery system.

The other problem is, everyone seems to think that terrorists are guys living in caves with outmoded weapons, who have to pull apart 1920’s art-deco toasters, and 1970’s Tyco slot racers for parts, and everything they build will be shoddy and “insidious” looking.

This means that while the bomb squads are ‘defusing’ a thrown out Bud Lite sign, the highly polished and pretty looking art-nouveau piece in the Boston Garden will actually be killing crowds of people.

But don’t worry, it’s not overreacting at all.

So Unfair says:

Ruined my day...

My Sympathies Boston Blackie,

“as a result of their arrogance and stupidity, thousands of people were inconvenienced for hours.”

I am sorry that you were inconvenienced for hours. I totally agree that in a “Post-911” world no one should be inconvenienced. Not you, not me, not anyone. Although in a pre-911 world I believe that this ‘stunt’ wouldn’t have incited this type of reaction, leading me to believe that it was the stupid, knee-jerk reaction of the city that infact lead to our inconvenience. Come to think of it, as a result of other post-911 arrogance and stupidity, thousands of people have been infact been killed.

“I was one of those who sat in traffic on I-93 that morning. My time has value and it was wasted that day.”

Again I couldn’t agree more. I bet that not only were you stuck in traffic but probably your car heater was broken, and your CD player was broken and your radio station just wasn’t playing your favorite song. How inconsiderate. I hate it when someone ruins my day.

The hijackers on 9/11 started their trip about one mile from where the first device was found. That’s what was in the minds of everyone involved, because we won’t forget.

I too don’t want to forget. I don’t want anyone, anywhere to forget. This is one reason I think we should slow down the killing in Iraq… a dead Iraqi (hell even all our dead young American soldiers) can’t remember… more blown off legs and arms and shrapnel embedded deeply under flesh, that’s what we need… you better believe those people won’t be forgetting!

At least our little trip to Iraq will ensure that there’s plenty of oil to keep my car running while I sit in it.

Andrew Pollack (profile) says:

As a fire officer in a town a hundred miles or so

I do not believe that this was an overreaction on anyone’s part.

The mayor doesn’t make the call on this anyway. Boston, along with every other fire department in the country (in theory) must follow the NIMS response plans for managing incidents and in this case it would have been either Boston PD or Boston Fire to make the call.

Strange packages attached to bridges and signs in various parts of the city must be dealt with as if they are dangerous explosives or chemical dispensing or biological in one way or another. Why? If you under-respond and you’re wrong people die. If you over-respond people are late for work.

If it was my small town, and for some strange reason a lowly LT ended up in charge of one of these scenes you’re damn right I’d block the road until someone who could identify and deal with whatever it was got there. No question at all. If you got mad because you’re late for work now, I’d have no sympathy at all.

Suppose you decided that since the first two were bogus the rest must be — and they were. The next time they may not be because your response was noted. We KNOW for a FACT that some false alarms are called in for no reason other than to measure the method and size of a response.

I’ve said this before — the 11th one could be real, and it could be your daughter on her way to a 3rd grade field trip in a bus that happened to be under the thing when it did whatever it was designed to do. The fact that the other 10 were false alarms would hold no consolation for you as you crucified me in court.

Thank you for listing to my rant.

ninonitti says:

Re: As a fire officer in a town a hundred miles or

If the news accounts can be trusted, the first one of these devices was “detonated” by the bomb squad. By this I assume they exploded something next to it to see if it contained it’s own explosive. My question was this mooninite checked first for radioactivty or biological agents or do these guys just get their nut off blowing stuff up?

Andrew Pollack (profile) says:

Re: Re: re: do they investigate first

I’m not trained by any bomb squad, though I’ve been to a briefing on the subject by some FBI and ATF people a few years back.

I don’t know what criteria are used to determine if it is safe to blow something up, but I do know from meeting these people that they take this kind of study very seriously with more serious academic study than you’d think.

Firefighters as well, unlike the TV kind, spend a great deal of classroom time on chemistry, fire behavior, hazmat containment, and other highly complex topics.

Again, speaking not to this case, but in general when they blow something up they use a kind of barrel with an open top, which directs the blast up rather than out which is usually much safer (unless you are dumb enough to be looking into the barrel at that moment).

These are not the goons that TV makes out. These are well educated men (mostly) who combine huge amounts of patience and skill with bravery and decisiveness. They deserve our respect.

dento77 says:


like i saw posted somewhere else… Boston PD saw an opening for get some overtime pay…milked it for all its worth(2-3 weeks too late) and now has to answer for their fudge up. shoot, even Carl from ATHF would have known “the suspicious device” wasn’t a bomb. WAKE UP BOSTON!! if this is how you protect us against marketting, i’d hate to think of what a red painted toaster with a string that looked like a fuse sitting on the sidewalk would do to the city. and to the people trying to defend “the great city of boston”, do some research before blowing smoke out of your ass. we just ain’t buying it…

shamedhubres says:

dumb politicians

what if the LEDs had been a bomb??? god i hate that argument. i understand some stupid (and most likely OLD) hub citizen saw the lite brite and called the authorities and the authorities showed up and realized it was just a lite brite and … here’s where the grandstanding politicians should have known better… this is where a public service anouncement should have gone out telling people these were harmless lite-brites and to go about their days then turner brodacasting would have taken responsibility and had the lite brites removed (remember the way New York handled the MI:2 campaign where a small electronic device was put in with newspapers that played the MI theme???…no?….exactly.)

This overreaction just proves how out of touch the HUB politicians are with today’s generation (that by and large don’t vote leaving us to be represented by officials elected by the older democratic generation that does vote)

jimbo92107 says:

'Guerilla,' not Gorilla

Much as we all love the thought of people prancing around in ape costumes, _guerilla_ marketing refers to unusual advertising campaigns that sometimes include odd public displays, spray-painted logos on stop signs, etc. Oh, and I should include Lite Brights, too, in case the mayor of Boston is reading this.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have read a lot of Monday morning quarter backs crucify Boston for overreacting to devices that had been there for two to three weeks…Citing that they would have been put into use long before we found them…


Before we found them…How do you know how long something has been in place BEFORE you have found it???

Just because they were there that long doesn’t mean the people in charge of making the decisions knew that. I am sure much of the people in Boston had seen them around, but it’s not general practice for governing authorities to interview “the man on the street” when making decisions that effect the safety of the masses.

I would also like to hear from some bomb techs that may troll these boards…Oh yeah, I guess most of you aren’t in that field so I am sure you would know what is or is not an IED. (that would be Improvised Explosive Device for the learning impaired.)

These signs had a symbol of a character saying “F-You” on them with a packing of batteries and wires well within the size of many IED’s that our soldiers encounter overseas…And they were crudely wrapped in black tape no less.

And as to why people are attacking the people of Boston and Massachusetts in general…I don’t understand that at all…Yes it’s a liberal state and I will admit that I am a conservative in a sea of tree hugging, Christmas ending, gay rights activists that want “God” removed from school and same sex marriage introduced into the curriculum as soon as the second grade.

So yes, there are some wacko’s here, but the majority of the people are hard working well adjusted people that disagree with the elected officials. Our wacko officials continue to get elected (or re-elected) because of special interest groups and minorities.

This is how “Free em’ All” Deval Patrick got elected governor. They bus all of the minorities and “No speak-a-the English” people to the voting booths and show them where to color in their vote.

Soon Illegal Aliens will have the right to vote, they will have drivers licenses and their children will qualify for special college scholarships that pay their way through college. This is not fiction, it is fact and our newly elect governor has promised this in the near future.

He’s also a supporter of gay marriage and will do everything in his power to keep it legal here in the Bay State…Even though the people never voted on it, a few activist judges passed legislation on it rather than doing their jobs of interpreting it.

Over 400,000 signatures finally got them to vote on whether it can be voted into the ballot for 2008 and there’s a chance it will get the vote. If that happens it will be a sad day for the Gay community because over 80% of the state of Massachusetts believes a marriage should only be a union between a man and a woman…And they know it, and they’re scared.

I will be elated when it makes the ballot so I can vote it down and can hopefully not have to explain to my two small children why Adam and Steve are walking down the isle.

Also, somebody mentioned the Big Dig almost killing a lady…It didn’t almost kill her…It killed her. It crushed her instantly and her husband was also injured but he walked away from the 12 ton ceiling panel landing on his car. (If you’re going to report on happenings here in Boston, at least be accurate…)

All that said, it’s still a great state with great people and if I knew where some of you were from I bet I could pull a few “Common perceptions” of your state out of my behind…

I say let the officials make the decisions on closing roads if they feel that devices could potentially be dangerous. As it’s been stated before, they didn’t know what to think of these things and too many people aren’t looking at the size and makeup of the battery packs, much less the places they were put…(Under bridges and other odd places for advertising.)

And it would be the same people here complaining about how “laid back” Boston is if these had actually been bombs and they killed people. They would be saying that if they had taken the matter a bit more serious these devices wouldn’t have killed the people they did.

How do you win when people have a bias against you from the beginning?…You don’t.

I just wish there were more understanding of the cultures here in the US…I happen to be a NASCAR fan and being one here in Mass makes me a Redneck that beats my wife…(yes that’s the perception of every person that lives south of West Virginia here in the Northeast)

I happen to be a Technical Support Manager for one of Boston’s high tech companies…But liking NASCAR makes me an outcast of sorts even though I have lived all 34 years of my life here in this state.

Can’t we all just get along….(ok, that was cheesy, but it works…)

Guerilla eating a banana says:

20 years too late

The book on Guerilla Marketing was written 20+ years ago. It is a venerated part of American capitalism, its smart, it works, it makes America better, it makes America America. Can we say as much about the Mayor of Boston, or any other mayor? No we cannot.

Guerrilla Marketing: Secrets for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business (Guerrilla Marketing) (Paperback)
by Jay Conrad Levinson

Adam says:

wtf boston

As someone who lives in Boston – I’m embarrassed by the reaction..

You can’t blow $1 million dollars on a response and then get pissed because it wasn’t an emergency and now someone has to pay (or you look like an idiot).

Where is the balance on threat vs. $$$ spent? Reports I’ve read say the Mayor was told “almost immediately” what they were. [LED signs]. But that he didn’t want to “interrupt a police investigation” so he continued to let things snowball..

Even at 6:30pm that night – one was discovered on building and they shut the whole place down and did their whole song and dance w/tons of police, etc.. 6:30pm that night!!

Mayor Mumbles (and other elected officials) want to be the next Rudy in the face of danger and that is very bad for the public…

Anonymous Coward says:

I can see where he’s upset: all of these cases had to be assumed to be serious and time, energy, funds, and manpower were wasted. Other potential situations that could have used these resources could have been out of luck. It’s VERY CLEAR why people were upset by this.

Let’s establish the fact that there was NO overreaction by police forces. However, the Mayor’s reaction was quite over-the-top. Besides the fact that it’s senseless to try to ban “human behavior” (as it was mentioned earlier), there are legitimate forms of “guerrilla marketing” that should not be punished. I’m hoping this was just an emotional misspeaking and that the Mayor will not actually attempt to act on his words (not that he would likely accomplish it anyways).

Batman says:

Hahahahaha, Good One Boston!

Boston says it cost them $1 million. By my calculations, and at a liberal rate of $30 per hour, for an 8 hour shift, 1 (officer) man costs $240. SO… did really Boston send out 400-500 people to investigate these devices. Of course, most were already on duty, doing there jobs, which is to investigate crime… soo…… hmmmm. Yeah, Boston is a laughing stock.

Douglas (profile) says:

Anonymous Coward

The Coward part of your name fits you well! People like you are why this whole country is becoming a police state. This coming police state is the only thing George Bush has been successful doing. You, Bush, and those over reacting COWARDS in Boston and, other cowards in all local, state, and the federal gov. will put an end to our once free Democracy! If the passangers on those 911 planes had been carring guns like me and my redneck friends carry around in our pickups everyday; the out come would have been different. WE people around here are wanting to see a bunch of terrorists come here; we know how to deal with them. And, yes I am a NASCAR fan.

Anonymous Coward says:

“If the passangers on those 911 planes had been carring guns like me and my redneck friends carry around in our pickups everyday; the out come would have been different.”

I too have a pistol permit with a high capacity allowance and it’s issued for “All Lawful Purposes” AND I travel quite extensively for my job and all of my flights go out of Logan Airport in Boston.

I can assure you that even I would have been helpless on 9/11 because even though we didn’t have the tightened security at the time…GUNS WERE STILL NOT ALLOWED AS CARRY ON ITEMS… EVEN THEN!!!

I’d also like to see what a few good ol’ boys firing off their hand guns could do to the skin of an airplane traveling 400mph at 32,000 feet when they go through their intended target and continue through the wall or a window of the plane.

Have you every actually been on one of those thar flying contraptions that defy the laws of god?

“WE people around here are wanting to see a bunch of terrorists come here; we know how to deal with them.”

Fortunately for you the terrorists will probably never hit down your way because they want the people the kill to be missed by the rest of the country…

Funny that they had to go all the way down to the south to learn how to fly the planes…Probably because anywhere else the people would have been suspicious when they said…”No…We don’t need to learn how to land the planes, just teach us how to fly them!”


Douglas (profile) says:

Re: We got more than hand guns

We got more than hand guns! But a nice hollow point n the gut ain’t goin’ no where. Yes, I fly all the time, after all I went to law school in Cleveland, Ohio and have to go there once or twice a month?? But, I ain’t seen any terrorists yet. Sorry about the name calling. But you got to admit we got a bunch of clowns in most government offices. Filing suit on some tomorrow for stupid actions aganist an old woman. No reason to go into Iraq just made things worse.

AnimalsForCrackers says:

I applaud you all...

I applaud the ironic amount of ignorance here from all those so-called “informed” people who feel free to judge the entire city of Boston based on what the few ignorant asshats in government/law enforcement do. Good show, lads. You realize transit security called this in and not any actual citizens? You realize you are taking a massive shit on your arguments by knee-jerking out logical fallacies just as Menino has right? Land of the free, home of the hypocrites.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

No forward planning

The problem with the US cities is that tehey have not had plans for a whole range of potential terrorist/otehr atteacks for the last however many years, but instead rushed a whole load into place after 911. This means that the plans were npot well thought out, leading to this sort of stupidity. Look at London. There they had several real bombs go off on the tube, and yet, apart from a short closure of the tube to check for more bombs, adn the shooting of one man who was thought to be running away from Police, thre was not chaos, even after the bomb on the bus.. This difference is because the US has not really had any experience of ordindary terroism, which many US allies have recieved from fromerly US-sponsored organisations such as the former IRA, Al-Quieda, and others, while htey were recieving US funding. Unfortunately, the only way ahead for the USA is to either copy other coutries, or to have a whole load of these sort of incidents (and hopefully no real ones).

AnimalsForCrackers says:

You know exactly what I meant Anon, I’m not saying don’t criticize our “establishment”, by all means any normal person wouldn’t give two shits. Of course I find it absurd, I never said I didn’t (no matter the location, because that’s irrelevant). But I also would try to avoid the type of broad sweeping generalizations (aka “Boston-mens r stupud!!111!”) of a group of peoples that is resulting from the fallout. I place blame where it’s due. Every city has it’s knee-jerks, meatheads, and goombas. I didn’t vote for Menino either to the dude who asked. Fighting irrationality with irrationality is kindof counter-productive that’s all.

Mike says:

over-reaction? No.

Try this on for size: The country is at war. You’re a government official charged with keeping the public safe. The 9/11 hijackers boarded their planes in your city. You begin receiving reports of suspicious electronic devices large enough to be bombs placed around the city in an apparently coordinated effort, in places like girders underneath the interstate.

Do you risk ‘over-reacting’ or ‘under-reacting’?

me says:

If they were bombs they sure as hell wouldnt have been light up devices that are VISIBLE FOR MILES! anyone who knows anything about improvised explosive devices knows that they would be something that DID NOT draw attention to itself. Funny how these “explosives experts” couldnt tell the difference between a bomb and a lite brite.
Our tax dollars at work here. Hey if you wanna ask homeland security a question that will stump them say “Hey whatever happened to that rich Bin Laden guy our government helped escape?”

me says:

To Turner, Interference, Inc. and the two meatballs that carried this out, I say you’ve got a lot to answer for and the working citizens of this city won’t forget you.
Lol the rest of us who are laughing at you pansies wont forget either.

they couldnt react to 911, they STILL cant find Bin Laden they couldnt react to Hurricane Katrina, but damnit if its a light up cartoon character ITS GOIN DOWN.

I must say as an US citizen I AM ASHAMED to call myself an american with such pussies as the Boston whiners and homeland insecurity as my fellow citizens. This country used to have balls, We used to say things like taxation without representation is tyranny. Now the US is just one big slippery seething cunt. and our motto is “Please tax us rape us and fuck us as much as you want as long as were safe” Its time for america to grow a pair and realise our government is the enemy.

me says:

To Turner, Interference, Inc. and the two meatballs that carried this out, I say you’ve got a lot to answer for and the working citizens of this city won’t forget you.
Lol the rest of us who are laughing at you pansies wont forget either.

they couldnt react to 911, they STILL cant find Bin Laden they couldnt react to Hurricane Katrina, but damnit if its a light up cartoon character ITS GOIN DOWN.

I must say as an US citizen I AM ASHAMED to call myself an american with such pussies as the Boston whiners and homeland insecurity as my fellow citizens. This country used to have balls, We used to say things like taxation without representation is tyranny. Now the US is just one big slippery seething cunt. and our motto is “Please tax us rape us and fuck us as much as you want as long as were safe” Its time for america to grow a pair and realise our government is the enemy.

Uninvolved says:

Reaction vs Overreaction

I’m a casual observer in all of this. I don’t live in Boston or any of the other cities where the Mooninite LED boards were put up. I’m not a fan of ATHF, although I do like [adult swim]. I’m pushing 40 and I recognize the Mooninite figure, probably because I don’t live with my head buried deep in the sand.

As a rational-thinking adult, I can see this from both sides.
I don’t know if the leaders of any of the cities where this marketing campaign took place were notified or not. I’ve heard that they were. I’ve heard that they weren’t. Being uninvolved, I don’t know. If Boston’s leaders were notified before the stunt, then I think that the mayor should foot the bill for the fiasco from his own pocket, simply because he screwed the pooch by not paying attention to what’s going on in his city.

I understand why Boston reacted. They should react to something suspicious that could be a threat to their city. That’s the job of the cities government: to protect the citizens of that municipality.
However, Boston overreacted in a huge way. They shut down freeways and tied up the city to remove and dispose of these devices.

Most bomb squads have a way of containing a suspicious device safely for transport. Does BPD’s bomb squad have such an armored case? If so, why did they choose to explode these LED boards rather than contain & remove it? That makes no sense to me.

I’ve seen one of the devices (the guy who was trying to sell one on eBay showed one in detail). I’m no explosives expert, but there is nothing on the device that looks like it could be explosive. I’m certain that any ATF agent or bomb squad personnel could easily have determined the non-threatening nature of these devices.
Sure, because one device isnt’ a bomb doesn’t mean that they all aren’t. But rather than tie up the entire city and put people into a panic think there are terrorists in Boston, why don’t they test the damn things with some discretion, not causing the havoc they did?

Guerilla-style marketing goes on all the time in every major city in this country. Granted, most of the time it’s not as in-your-face as this stunt was, but it never brings a major city to its knees, either. I’ve seen LED grafitti before in several places, and people don’t run off screaming to the police that there’s a bomb!

Was the marketing campaign legitimate and legal? Legitimate, but possibly not legal. It’s definitiely not worthy of felony charges, though.
Was a reaction necessary by the city of Boston? Sure.
Was Boston’s reaction appropriate? Not even close.

Remember that it wasn’t a couple of subversive marketing guys that brought the city of Boston to a grinding halt last week. It was the actions of the city’s leaders.

Turner broadcasting, Cartoon Network, Williams Street, [adult swim] and Aqua Teen Hunger Force could not get any more publicity than this stunt brought them. Even if they have to pay off the city of Boston (which I don’t think they should do), the amount of publicity is well worth the price, even if it gets upwards of a million (which is a number that’s been tossed around quite a bit).

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...