Friday, February 02, 2007

What’s the Chain of Command, damn it!!


Okay yesterday’s huge terror scare in Boston. So I’m a day late. But this story has been nagging at me since I first read the news. There are several ways to interpret this incident and some are quite contradictory.

First glance…How Stupid! How could Turner allow such a plan to even be carried out? It’s post 911 for crymanny-sake!

Okay back up…two YOUNG art school grads with obvious leanings toward a ridiculous if not rude sense of humor are hired by a third party guerrilla marketing firm to promote the release of a film version of TBS' "Adult Swim" program, Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They come up with a plan to hide little homemade light-boxes, with the character Err sporting a raised middle finger, in Boston; New York City; Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia; Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Who approved this idea? Did someone from Turner Broadcasting approve this plan? Does Interference, Inc. approve its own campaigns on behalf of the client? Where is the chain of command?

Next… the boxes are made and hid in various places in the cities aforementioned. They have been in place for approximately 2-3 weeks depending on the location.

Apparently, some cities found the boxes and confiscated them with little fuss and wrote it off as a public art piece, a hoax, or some even knew what their intent was…to promote a movie.

Then on Wednesday all hell breaks loose in Boston. Not only did it scare the good people of Boston but also a good part of the nation. To top it off Turner doesn’t issue a statement until 5pm.

The artists are arrested and released on bail.

They could be criminally prosecuted for executing a marketing campaign they were hired to do. They could even take the fall for footing a bill to repay Boston and other cities for all the repercussions of panic and removal.

Again…What is the chain of command?

So here’s my take on this thing;

First, did Boston officials over-react – well sorry folks but there’s no cut and dry answer.

Yes! They assumed the worse and caused mass hysteria over some little light boxes.

No! They assumed the worst and were prepared to face the possibility of an all out terrorist attack.

Could they have not assumed the worst? Not the guys on the frontline. Again…where is the chain of command here? Why didn’t someone try to figure out what was going on by hitting the internet? Keeping in contact with news stations? Getting some answers that were readily available and then communicating this to the frontline in a timely manner to diffuse the situation and call off the alert.

The fact is Boston’s emergency officials did what they did and God bless them for being prepared for the worst even if they didn’t have to be. It’s a $500,000 learning experience that the city would never have commissioned to test the procedures they have in place.
Let’s hope they learn from it. Do you hear me chain of command?! Were you still reading storybooks to children in the library instead of getting answers immediately?

Turner? What’s up with that? No response for a good nine hours? What’s the chain of command?

Interference, Inc. same questions.

Guys? (Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens) Crazy art school guys! Come on. You knew this was a shock and awe approach and you knew it would scare some people, maybe not as many as it ultimately did but you knew. Hiding them in bridges, in subway stations, public buildings – it’s quite clear there was a bit of dark humor brewing here. I’m not saying you’re guilty of a crime just because you thought it was a clever idea and because Turner? Interference? gave you the go ahead. It couldn’t be that bad right? In some ways yes and some ways no. It’s hard for me to believe that there wasn’t an underlying joke or statement about the escalated level of fear in this country.

Ah – (Here Lewis if you read this); here is the age issue; the generation gap. Anybody under the age of 30 with any inclination towards the element of cool and hip doesn’t seem to think this is a big deal. In fact they think it’s just plain ass-backward the way the “Authorities” have handled this. - "It's so not threatening -- it's a Lite-Brite," – Says twenty-two-year-old Todd Venderlin, a design student at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. Just search the blogs about this issue and see how many young people think it’s ridiculous. Condolences are pouring in on Peter Berdovsky’s and Sean Stevens’ My Space pages.

This is suspicious in many ways – Turner? – Interference? – Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens? It worked!!! You got buzz!!! You did your job!! But at what cost?

The whole thing was irresponsible, irreverent, slightly sinister and childish. So there’s my little slap on the hand. Was it really all in good fun? Over all I think it stinks.

Oh yeah!!! When did it become acceptable to flip people off in a very public marketing ploy?


Cam Beck said...

You have a blog! Why on Earth did you not say so earlier? :)

Lewis Green said...

I'm reading Tammy. Great post. And, yes, I remember feeling so sure of myself and that most adults are rediculous. Now I are one.

Tammy Allen said...

Thanks Guys. I'm trying... It's only been a couple weeks I think.

Hey Cam did you catch the last sentence? That was for you.