The Knuckleheads of the Day award
Today's winners are Interference Inc and Time Warner. They get the award for the following.
BOSTON - Ten blinking electronic devices planted at bridges and other spots in Boston threw a scare into the city Wednesday in what turned out to be a publicity campaign for a late-night cable cartoon. At least one of the devices depicts a character giving the finger.A city is shut down because of a publicity stunt. I don't know whether to laugh at the cluelessness of the advertiser or scream at the paranoia of public officials. Some how I smell a bunch of lawsuits coming against those responsible for the stunt.
Highways, bridges and a section of the Charles River were shut down and bomb squads were sent in before authorities declared the devices were harmless.
"It's a hoax — and it's not funny," said Gov. Deval Patrick.
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.
"The packages in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger," Turner said in a statement. It said the devices have been in place for two to three weeks in 10 cities: Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Austin, Texas, San Francisco and Philadelphia.
"We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger," the company said.
The marketing company responsible for the campaign, Interference Inc., had no immediate comment. A woman who answered the phone at the New York-based firm's offices on Wednesday afternoon said the firm's CEO was out of town and would not be able to comment until Thursday.
Police said only that they were investigating where the device came from, but an angry Mayor Thomas Menino said a stiff penalty will be pursued against whoever was responsible for the devices.
"It's about keeping a city on edge. It's about public safety," he said.
Bottom line- The marketing company should have had more common sense and those who hired them are also at fault. That makes Interference Inc and Time Warner Corp. today's Knuckleheads of the Day.
James Joyner at OTB and A Blog for All have further thoughts.
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