Mooninite Terror Attempt
This is what happens when you mix paranoia with guerrilla marketing.
The Mooninite Terror Attempt was a snafu involving the Massachusetts State & Boston Police Departments and Cartoon Network's marketing department.
On January 31, 2007, a tip was called in to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority regarding a small panel with LEDs on it bearing some resemblance to a homemade bomb. This resulted in a gigantic snowball effect due to mass "homeland security" paranoia, with the MA State Police department closing the highway and subway, blocking river traffic, and removing and destroying the LED panels.
It was later determined that:
a) the LED panels were not bombs (surprise!),
b) the LEDs were in the shape of Ignignokt and Err, characters from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, a show on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block,
c) the panels were placed by Cartoon Network in 10 cities as part of a guerrilla marketing campaign for the ATHF movie.
Cartoon Network's marketing department didn't quite think things over or realize how panicky some of the people in Boston were. (It's worthwhile to note that officials in other cities saw the LEDs and didn't panic about them at all.) After the LEDs were up over Boston, someone who'd never seen Aqua Teen Hunger Force took the visible batteries and wiring to mean they were a bomb, and the Boston law enforcement were legally required to take the threat seriously.
Said and done.
- No Mooninites were harmed except for the one the cops blew up.
- The individuals hired by Cartoon Network to place the lights were arrested and released.
- Turner forked over $2,000,000 to the City of Boston as a settlement.
- The head of Cartoon Network resigned shortly afterwards due to the bomb scare.