What happens when you take one viral marketing campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force on the Cartoon Network, dress them up in blinky lights and magnets, and attach them to bridges, underneath a highway overpass, and near a hospital?
A bomb scare, city-wide panic, traffic snarls, and city and state police turning the entire city upside-down in an effort to find out what those blinky things are, where they are, and how to remove them without getting blown up.
Am I glad that I don't have to go into Boston proper for work? You betchya. My sympathies for my local peeps who do, though.
Nice of Turner Broadcasting to call the city at around 4:15 p.m. to let the locals know. I even love how the New England News Network phrased the mea culpa: "Turner Broadcasting has taken responsibility..."
Making Light has the best summary of what happened.
The hilarious/really sad thing about all of this? These blinky things have been up for 2 to 3 weeks and no one seems to have noticed. Worse, they've been up in ten cities, including Boston, and no one seems to have noticed.
There's a pretty good round up now up on Boston.com (Note: Link will expire.)
A State Police Bomb Squad officer removed a "Mooninite," the culprit of today's confusion, from a support in Somerville. Picture from Boston.com
Yup. That's one marketing campaign that won't be forgotten any time soon. Round of applause for the geniuses at Turner Broadcasting!
ETA: As it turns out, the person who planted the Mooninites around the city had a Web page showing them doing the planting. Before you ask, yup, the guy's been arrested.
ETA2 There's some confusion on whether Turner Broadcasting bothered to get the proper permits to put up the blinky things. If they did, well it's a bad on the city of Boston since apparently the proper authorities were notified. If they didn't, I can't blame the city and state for freaking the hell out. People not familiar with the city might not realize that the blinky things were put on two of the major bridges into and out of the city that span the Charles River.
So while the whole thing is funny (it's good to laugh), on the other, if the city was never notified, the freak-out is understandable given the location of the blinking ads.
ETA3: The peeps over at b0st0n are already on the case and have voted "hilarious." Check out the awesome icons that have taken over the community!