Only in America - "Mooninites" shut down Boston!
By Jessica Heslam, Laura Crimaldi and Dave Wedge
The Boston Herald
Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - Updated: 08:10 PM EST
A guerilla marketing campaign for a popular adult cartoon thrust Boston into pandemonium today until 10 circuit boards initially thought to be bombs were identified as battery-operated ads strategically placed around the city by the Cartoon Network.
Federal, state and local police swarmed around the city as reports poured in of suspicious devices, closing roads, tunnels and bridges for hours.
The chaos touched off a traffic nightmare and prompted a tense press conference from Gov. Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who assured residents the matter was under control. Fears of a possible terrorist act were quelled when it was determined the devices were part of an underground advertising campaign for the Cartoon Network TV show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.”
The device features a character called a mooninite.
“The packages in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger. They are part of an outdoor marketing campaign in 10 cities in support of Adult Swim’s animated television show Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They have been in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.Parent company Turner Broadcasting is in contact with local and federal law enforcement on the exact locations of the billboards. We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger,” said a statement by Turner Broadcasting, which also owns CNN.
A source told the Herald that a memo is being sent out to City Hall employees notifying them that the devices are part of the marketing campaign. Authorities said there are 38 devices in Boston and Somerville.
City Councilor Michael Flaherty was fuming and demanded that Turner Broadcasting “reimburse the city of Boston for every dime spent today on this serious public safety threat.”
“It’s outragoues, reckless and totally irresponsible,” Flaherty said. “What a waste of resources.”
Todd Vanderlin, a New York City student, was visiting his buddy in Boston Jan. 15 when he spotted one of the illuminated devices on a South Boston bridge. He snapped photos of it and took it down.
“I saw one on a bridge. It was glowing. It’s like a light bright,” Vanderlin told the Herald.
Vanderlin said the device, which broke while he was taking it down, is a light-emitting diode or LED that was manufactured in China. It consists of four double D batteries that connect to a large capacitor and photoresister, a device that illuminated the device at night.
“That’s as complex as it gets,” Vanderlin said by phone. “It’s a simple, little, wiring thing. It’s so harmless it’s not even funny. My friend has it hanging in his office.”
Vanderlin said he spoke with the manufacturer, Interference Inc. in New York. The company had no comment earlier today and a woman said the CEO was unavailable.