Adult Swim and Interference Inc - This NOT the work of the GRL

An advertising agency managed to shut Boston down with a guerrilla marketing campaign gone bad. Inspired by the GRL (the people behind LED Throwies), Interference, Inc, whose website appears to be blank right now, created some LED-based graffiti to promote a cartoon.

Our friends at the GRL were not impressed, and posted a response here.

Like a dog in heat, a producer/reporter from Inside Edition tracked me down earlier today hoping to find, and I quote, "a techie willing to explain these light-bulbs attached to magnets that are all over Boston." I tried to explain that the GRL and LED Throwies had nothing to do with it, but perhaps subtlety is lost when you're hot on the trail of a story. Carl, if you're out there, these are the links you weren't interested in getting from me.

The people who actually are behind this posted the video below (which was removed by the original author, but reposted by the GRL).

I grabbed it from here.

There are lots of very interesting questions around this whole issue: When does art become advertising; how can we as "techies" educate those around us as to what's a bomb and what's art; and who is responsible for actions like these that shut down a city? The artists? The corporation that put them up to it? The government for making itself and the public so paranoid?

In any case, join me in watching how this unfolds.

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In one way I'm really enjoying this idea, it's really interesting to see something like this happen, I think the advertising is downright dirty and pretty stupid, guerilla marketing is supposed to be on the cutting edge, not stealing ideas from people, especially those that are clearly better at it than them (note lack of bomb theories), they have however in the hype of the bomb scare and case brought themselves far more publicity than ever expectable from this. On the other hand we have le authoridados who are overreacting obscenely to this really quite simple 'bombing', by blowing the whole thing up to this size they are being irrevocably stupid, not only bringing their own foolishness to the attention of the public but also highlighting the 'is it a bomb' paranoia gripping a number of western countries (personally I'm used to it, our cash machines tell us not touch any suspicious devices and whatnot). I think trebuchet03 has it sussed with the 'no bomb' theory, if governmental powers overreact like that often then terrorism will become as easy as putting a binbag full of rubbish in an odd place, personally I think it looks like terrorism is going the way of severe weather warnings in england, every day there's a severe weather warning to 'make things more interesting' as clarkson says, because weather in england is boring the majority of the time, whereas with terrorism overreaction it's to make people 'alert', which will, over time dull them to bomb scares to the point where nobody will bother, which is bringing people back to square -1, caution is sensible, assuming glowing cartoons on bridges are a terrorist attack is utter lunacy. Not all people are lost in this though, the majority of the world can see the difference between a lightbulb and a bomb (unless goodhart is about) Also this may ruin my 'priapic crosswalks' idea, everyone can be sure that I will think twice before staging a multi city attack on this one... Then again it's terrorism of a completely ridiculous and comic variety, the plan being to make everyone giggle, not watch tv or die.
trebuchet0310 years ago
It's been very interesting, frustrating and infuriating (all at the same time) for me.

Everyone needs to be held responsible for their respective actions under the jurisdiction of applicable laws.

--Berdovsky et. al for graffiti
--City of Boston - trigger happy reaction (they need to get the bill)
--Fed. Government agencies must realize that their "experts" must include pop (and cult) culture. Otherwise expect this to happen again.

Thank goodness the judge at the arraignment was clear headed and actually knew the usage and definition of "hoax." In my opinion, that has brought a shred of dignity to the system.

I say Boston (and respective authority) needs to pay the bill because of how this matter was handled. I'm not saying that no course of action should have been taken. I'm saying that their press releases to the media and post threat response is/are/was absolutely terrible. Don't send the bill to someone else because you screwed up. Try it next time you're at a restaurant without given an offer. Maybe you'll get a free appetizer (if offered) - but you can't leave without paying.

The infuriating part is the speculation and hype yesterday. This would not have blown up as it did if the media reported facts rather than experts pontificating possibilities. The whole "If they were going to do it, this is how they'd do it" scenario.

As you can probably tell, I really don't care about the mooninites campaign. That is not the problem here. It saddens me every time I hear "post 9-11 age" or variants thereof. Because the report should read...

In a post 9-11 age, we look over every shoulder, fear what we don't understand and assert ourselves onto others.

If I were a terrorism machine, that would be my strategy. Why spend resources causing damage when your opponent will do the damage all by themselves. Am I saying they won, no. But I'm sure as hell not saying they're loosing by any stretch.
If I were a terrorism machine, that would be my strategy. Why spend resources causing damage when your opponent will do the damage all by themselves. Am I saying they won, no. But I'm sure as hell not saying they're loosing by any stretch.

I agree. Although I do believe in many major cities it has gotten to the point that "they" have almost won. Why use something "suspicious" when someone could hide a bomb (detonator) inside a light bulb (something completely innocuous and above suspicion). If we "make everything a bomb unless proven otherwise", we are doomed. I am not saying we must throw caution to the wind, but caution is one thing, unending paranoia is another.
Brennn1010 years ago
The government and the city took that way too far. There is too little people with the mindset of those advertisers these days.
Black Jelly10 years ago
that is the funniest show in the world and now a movie is coming out!?!?!
bostonstreet10 years ago
i got called up by my buddy saying "dude theres a bomb scare in boston!" i looked at fox 25 and went "its a fucking mooninite!" he goes "i know!!! ifs fucking hillarious" then i look up "mooninite led" and get sent to the make blog where it shows a blog from the 15th or 17th of "the mooninites land in seattle" then realized its advertisements. took 5 mins to crack the case....took them like 5 days to admit they were wrong. menino is retarded.
It's interesting about the whole "art vs. advertising" angle because you can look at any street art as a form of advertising. The creator wants hers or his idea out there to be taken in by the public. Mostly what the street art people are tying to get is street cred. For a while Shepard Fairey had an interesting thing going with his Obey campaign. Ultimately his anti-authority campaign evolved into a traditional advertising campaign with its own imagery and identity as the product which was then silkscreened onto shirts that you could buy at Urban Outfitters. The fancier folks can buy silkscreened two-color posters for $400 a pop. I don't blame him, he must have a huge budget for stickers and posters. It's just funny to see that his campaign was really an early form of guerrilla marketing. If that's the way he makes his living, then cool. I just wish he'd be more honest about it and stop cluttering up cities with his obnoxious images. His "Obey" signs are less a call to action and a key to unlock you from your mental shackles than a reminder that this is how the system works, or at least wants to.
I think the whole "bomb vs. art" question is meaningless. Once anyone brings the word "bomb" into the discussion the idea spreads all over until the idea needs to be completely put to rest. Everyone saying it's obvious they're not bombs because they're obviously Aqua Teen Hunger Force characters just need to take a step back and breathe a bit. First of all, the show is more of a cult hit and even if it was Bart Simpson it wouldn't matter anyway. Dolls have been used to hide bombs for decades. Hiding bombs in such an item would be great in a Joker/V for Vendetta kind of way anyway. If anything, I'm just disappointed that guerrilla marketers have succeeded so well at getting their target image everywhere. The media just want a story and the rush makes them run around like blind idiots. I've talked to them before and they don't give a fuck about trying to figure out the real issues. Sometimes you'll get someone who'll listen, but they're usually new.
"publish or perish" doesn't just apply to the collegate world...
jeff10 years ago
Just a heads up to those outside the Boston area - contrary to what the press and authorities have maintained, there was no 'panic' in Boston because of this silliness. Most people (excepting breathless media types and those over 55) went about their business or talked about the story with their friends at work. Rush hour was normal other than very temporary traffic jams caused by street closings. By just after noon it was obvious to anyone watching the TV broadcasts that after the first couple, the cops were just putting up ladders and yanking the things down - hardly the actions of people in fear of going boom. The mayor, governor and their people have egg on their face and their anger is mostly displaced embarassment.
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