Trying to take this seriously
I've spent a lot of time thinking about the bomb scare/hoax/marketing ploy in Boston yesterday. It was quite a story and had a big impact in Boston. I really think that the police and public safety people did what they had to do. These were suspicious looking packages, and there is nothing to say that a cute looking flashing thing couldn't also be a bomb. Given the number of them and the locations where they were placed, you'd want the police to assume the worst and deal with it accordingly. Better to be safe than sorry.
However, this story is an interesting confluence of guerrilla marketing and homeland security. The marketeers want an interesting, mysterious item to be discovered to get people talking. And, the bloggers have known about these things for a few weeks. However, the mysterious item can easily be confused for something dangerous as these days people are always on edge. Once that happens, you want the public safety people to act. However, this 'action' cost Boston about $750K and caused untold people to be delayed due to closed roads and subways.
Do you think that this guy was scared when he was removing this 'bomb'?
I saw this picture in the Globe today and had a hard time keeping a smile off my face. It's such a weird story that went from terror to anger to stunned chuckling.
What should Turner have done? They are clearly apologetic now. But, we can't stop people from creative marketing. And, should they have realized that these flashing signs would be confused for bombs? If that's not a reasonable expectation, how can we arrest or penalize the people responsible. Clearly the two individuals who hung these up in Boston shouldn't be prosecuted once we think clearly about what really happened. It's ridiculous to go after them and not Turner and their ad agency. Do you really think that Turner thought "let's do something reckless?"
But, we might just have to write this off as a situation that's unavoidable in our confusing times. Turner couldn't have foreseen this confusion. The police had no choice but to take these things seriously at first. But, we have to avoid penalizing Turner and others for not having the foresight that none of us would have had in their shoes...at least until now.
Just try not to smile when you look at that picture again...