February 1, 2007

Budget for bail, viral goes viral

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358766067_da00b3656e.jpgIn case you missed it on Make:, Agenda Inc., Engadget, Boing Boing, Pop Candy, Consumerist, or AdPulp, Aqua Teen Hunger Force (a highly recommended acquired taste of a cartoon) started a viral/guerilla campaign that truly climaxed yesterday. With 10 different locations over the past few weeks, the LED art of one of the characters flipping the bird required a bit of wiring around bridges and other structures. Bostonians, apparently having no sense of humor nor pop culture context, took it as a bomb threat however, and closed down major lines of traffic while they attempted to "detonate" the cartoon.

AdPulp claims that the agency behind the guerilla project, Interference Inc., are idiots - also pointing that their website has been pulled offline. Maybe so in their case, especially given the yellow-bellied-website-hiding, but overall I disagree. This has to be up there in one of the most successful viral campaigns around - perhaps on accident. Just think, if there was no bomb scare, would this be viral? If someone on the news didn't mention the Make: blog as a potential lead, would it have as much spread? During my time at VML, I've been involved in numerous pitches that specifically required a "budget for bail" due to what we were proposing. Even without budget, we've been given the go ahead for taking time off work in case of getting arrested. Hopefully Interference Inc. will grow some balls and realize that no matter how much negative publicity they get, they achieved viral success, which is a lot more than most others can claim.

AdRants commenters are going Chicken Little on this.

Update 2: You can now bid on a piece of advertising history

Update 3: The chumps (yes, to the disappointment of many, they're total chumps) hold a press conference - video on YouTube here


The highlight of this has been trying to explain "guerilla marketing" to my mother. She would like to remind everyone in the industry it's not too late to become doctors and lawyers.

Ooooh Ariel. We'll have something to talk about at coffee morning!

There are plenty of more important things to get arrested for than the promotions of a cartoon show.

Dunno, Ariel. This felt too much like a flash fire...I perceive slow burn viral efforts to be more effective.

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