Talk about an Err(or): Cartoon Marketing Stunt Bombs


Headline news touts a huge generational misunderstanding between Cartoon Networks’ kitsch character, “Err” from their late night “Adult Swim” show, “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and Boston security authorities who believed the nine blinking devices planted on bridges could’ve been bombs.

Gee, you’d have to be Osama in a cave himself to think this would NOT be perceived as a security threat. We’re stripping down to our socks at airports, yet this guerilla-tactic-viral promo attaching electronic gizmos giving the finger actually got clearance from some ad agency wonk? Amazing.

As a Creative Director, that sure would’ve topped my ‘no no’ list, but hey, my age may be showing. (or, gasp, common sense?)

Turner Broadcasting is tongue-tied with apologies and an official statement for shutting down the city. Clearly they should reimburse Boston’s civic coffers out of sheer stupidity. MediaWork’s industry response eluded to $750,000; spare change for Ted.

Alas, marketers got what they wanted with media buzz, and “Err” clones will no doubt be hot auction items on ebay positioned as the new icon for ‘hilarious’ renegade pranksters.

For those unfamiliar with the cult hit show, brilliantly fills in all the blanks with detail, and provides a cursory synopsis, blog, and pitch for an upcoming movie slated to premiere March 23rd. (ahem, quél surprise, no?)

In essence, it’s a late night brand out of the way of younger kids, which stays in the shallow end of street slang, sarcasm and scatological humor.

Their site explains, “First of all, they’re not teens. Secondly, there’s no water involved. The whole Hunger Force thing? That’s probably misleading too. In short, if you have to ask what Aqua Teen Hunger Force is about, it is probably not a show for you.”

Nope. Guess not. A peek at this riveting dialogue of ‘memorable quotes’ from ATHF verifies I’m clearly not the target audience. Yeah, I know, I “just don’t get it,” and clearly prefer deeper waters. Must be that generation ‘thang’ again.


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