Thursday, February 01, 2007

Promotion Amateurs Strike for Al Quaida!

To promote the upcoming movie Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Colon Movie Film for Theatres, various people have been leaving little figurines of the Moonanites (as seen in picture) with blinking LED lights all over various cities. It was considered stupid, and ignored just about everywhere...except in Boston.

The ten devices shut down traffic in Boston while police went hunting for these things. I won't go through the details that other print places have mentioned. If you want to read about it in detail, here's a link:

Promotion campaigns run by amateurs, and without any oversight, can go bad very fast. In the animation field, perhaps you may remember the Internet firm One of their Flash-animated shows was Mr. Wong, about an old Chinese butler/servant who was a bitter, angry, drunk old bastard. You know, the kind of character that the Icebox target audience of twenty-somethings would take to their hearts.

To promote the show, the Icebox crew ran through some of their investors' money putting posters for "Mr. Wong's Takeout" throughout San Francisco's Chinatown. When you called the number on the poster, you got a tape of Mr. Wong cursing you. Exactly the kind of thing the resident Chinese community would love, right? This example of "viral advertising" got them only bad press, and hastened to its bankruptcy.

And a few weeks ago, a radio station's "morning zoo"decided it would be funny to have contestants drink as much water as they could to win some sort of stupid prize. Despite a phone call from a nurse, warning that this could be fatal, the contest kept running. And a woman died. The radio station's DJ's lost their job and the station is being sued.

Nobody died in the Boston incident, as far as we know...although tieing up traffic and making emergency personnel do something stupid instead of saving lives doesn't help. Some posters are complaining about the Boston police "over-reacting," although apparently harmless toys are used worldwide by terrorists as lures to get people to trigger bombs.

What this comes down to is just plain stupidity on the part of AOL Time Warner and the ad agency for the Aqua Teen movie. If the buzz I've picked up on the Internet has any validity, the movie itself is going to be a disaster. The show itself has lost about all its relevancy and interest, just as the "dorm and bong water crowd" who were its biggest supporters have lost all relevancy and interest. Apparently, the ad agency was doing this "viral marketing" to try to get a good opening-weekend box office, because they knew this movie had nothing going for it in the long run.

The irreverent and self-mocking bumpers on Adult Swim can't spin this into something amusing. Regardless of whether AOL-TW is guilty of anything, or is prosecuted for anything, this stupid promotional campaign smacks of desperation. What angers me the most is that the good shows on Adult Swim, like The Venture Brothers and Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks will suffer by association. They are the shows that should have gotten the nod for a theatrical movie, although they aren't owned by AOL-TW, and with this kind of nonsense it doesn't look like they'll get that nod.