Turner Broadcasting Agrees to Pay $2M for Aqua Teen Hunger Force Bomb Scare


The Turner Broadcasting System and Interference Inc have agreed to pay $2M for the Boston_device“Aqua Teen Hunger Force” ad fiasco that paralyzed Boston, MA last week as a suspected bomb threat.

The settlement of course erases any legal action, civil or criminal claims, against the companies or individuals that would potentially be sued. Prosecutors were also in discussions with the attorneys of Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens, who hung the signs, to resolve the charges before a trial.

As part of the settlement, $1 million will be used to reimburse the agencies and $1 million will be used to fund homeland security and other programs. Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner Inc., and Interference Inc. also will issue a public statement accepting full responsibility and apologizing for the incident.

“Last week’s events caused a major disruption in the greater Boston area on many levels — crippling public transportation, causing serious traffic problems, negatively affecting local businesses and perhaps most significantly, costing Boston and surrounding communities thousands of dollars,” Coakley said.

Turner Broadcasting released a statement taking responsibility and apologizing to Bostonians for the hardships caused by their unconventional marketing tactic

“We understand now that in today’s post-Sept. 11 environment, it was reasonable and appropriate for citizens and law enforcement officials to take any perceived threat posed by our light boards very seriously and to respond as they did.”

Posted February 5, 2007 by
Bizarre, Homeland Security, Media | 7 comments

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  • Comments

    7 Responses to “Turner Broadcasting Agrees to Pay $2M for Aqua Teen Hunger Force Bomb Scare”

    1. Scared Monkeys on February 5th, 2007 1:16 pm

      What a deal for Turner though. While we in the older generation that is not into watching Adult Swim are bothered, this has become a cause celeb for the 20 somethings.

      So for 2 million dollars for their target audience to have fun poking their nose at the establishment, and if you need to understand that watch the press conference with the guys that were arrested.

      In my opinion it was a huge marketing victory for Cartoon Network and Turner.


    2. Miss-Underestimated on February 5th, 2007 1:21 pm

      What would it have cost for that much publicity?

    3. blablabla on February 5th, 2007 1:52 pm

      iF I were Turner I would have asked Mayor Mumbles if we made it 20m could they talk about it for a few more weeks

    4. dennisintn on February 5th, 2007 2:58 pm

      i’m impressed with turner’s thinking on this. accept responsibility? wow, what a concept.

    5. Bodo on February 5th, 2007 10:23 pm

      Actually, I think Boston should be ashamed and embarrassed by their ridiculously overt response to the nerdy little battery-powered billboards Interference Inc. placed in the city.

      If the city has a “Post No Bills” law against placing advertising where these signs were found, then I think Interference Inc. should be held liable to whatever fines and fees are due. But, in my opinion, I also think Interference Inc. has substantial grounds to sue the city of Boston for damages to the corporate image and the financial consequences of that damage. I am sure Interference Inc. will lose advertising clients, Turner Broadcasting included, and will have great difficulty attracting new advertising clients because of the bad publicity the company is getting. But the only thing the company should pay Boston, if anything, are whatever the prescribed fines and fees are if the company is in violation of a city ordinance by placing advertising where it is prohibited.

      As for Turner Broadcasting, I don’t think they are deserving any blame for anything unless they approved placement of the signs at locations where they are prohibited, in which case they should share responsibility with Interference Inc. in paying only the prescribed fines and fees. But taking everything into account in risk management and laying the matter to rest without the possibly of additional loss or litigation, I think the $2 million settlement in this ludicrous debacle in Boston makes Turner Broadcasting a huge financial beneficiary of the embarrassing ignorance of Boston officials and their ridiculous response to the nerdy little signs. Turner Broadcasting could not have purchased this much new public awareness of that cartoon program in a publicity campaign costing 50 times that amount. And the money can help Boston plug a few of the thousands of leaks or replace a few of the substandard ceiling anchor bolts in their Big Dig tunnel.

      In my opinion, Boston officials have egg on their face but manage to bamboozle Turner Broadcasting out of $2 million, and at a cost of only $2 million Turner Broadcasting gets public awareness drawn to their cartoon program that is in the magnitude of the public awareness Microsoft achieved leading up to the release of their Windows 95. People who didn’t even own a computer yet rushed out to buy that. So all in all, the only loser is Interference Inc.

    6. talleyrand on February 6th, 2007 8:27 am

      I agree Bodo. Interference and the city of Boston, which now has all the public dignity of Donald Duck, searching furiously for someone else to blame for their own dopiness.

      How come none of the millions of people in eight other major cities came out of their tree over a few obcene Lite Brites? Gimme a break.

    7. kay zee ess on February 6th, 2007 8:35 am

      I think I heard on the news that the program that this advertising campaign was all about(aqua teen hunger force?) had shot up 25% in viewership.

      Seems that someone from within a Boston municipal police agency might be working with Turner broadcasting and worked in collusion with them. That definitely would be “guerilla marketing”.

      Sound funny, but worth exploring. Dig and Delve.

      I am digressing, but, it’s kinda like the Trump-O’Donnell spat evolving into Trump and WWEs’ own billionaire Vincent Kennedy McMahon, where Trump has made a video appearence last week and will be there on RAW next Thursday(feb 15) live.

      Trump-O’Donnell indeed. He certainly is giving the public what they want. And I guess we follow like the lemings that the admen know us for. Same with Turner and Boston, I guess.

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