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Promo bombs in Boston.

In what may go down as the stupidest PR stunt of the century so far, a promo to hype Cartoon Net's "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" backfired in Boston, bringing out Bean-town bomb squads and irate politicos.

A street marketing firm called Interference had placed black boards festooned with blinking lights on bridge spans, roadways and subways to be noticed by commuters.

And they were.

"It went haywire. We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger," said a statement from Cartoon parent Turner Broadcasting.

Sean Stevens and Peter Berdovosky, employees of In terference, were arrested for placing the devices, which caused a public panic.

The brouhaha is not likely to end there.

Whether suits are filed against Turner's parent Time Warner or not, media companies are likely to take a closer look at their outsourcing to urban guerrilla outfits.

Similarly wrongheaded campaigns by other media companies include a "Mission: Impossible" gag last year that went awry.

In that case, music boxes were inserted in newspapers, which when the papers were opened, played the movie's theme. But hyper city dwellers thought the boxes might be bombs.

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Title Annotation:Interference
Author:Guider, Elizabeth
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U1MA
Date:Feb 5, 2007
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