"Aqua Teen Hunger Force" Movie Marketing Fiasco Blows Up
In just one day, the city of Boston has launched cartoon antiheroes Meatwad, Master Shake, and Frylock (a talking meatball, milkshake, and box of French fries, respectively) a little bit higher into the arena of public awareness with the massive stir (we will refrain from calling it "overreaction") that has erupted over a guerilla marketing campaign involving wire-ridden devices. Blinking magnetic devices. Blinking devices with lights in the shape of...block-shaped two-dimensional aliens with pixilated faces.
These aliens are Mooninites, two of the more recognizable frenemies from the "ATHF" cartoon series. Their names are Ignignokt (the green mastermind) and Err (the mean sidekick), and any "Hunger Force" fan worth their salt would giggle with unbridled laughter if they saw a Mooninite stuck to the side of a building flipping them off.
Ignignokt, Err, and one of the offending devices; hear them talk here!
But such is not the case with the alarmed officials of Boston, who not only shut down parts of the city's infrastructure (bridges, subways, buildings) Wednesday, but later that night arrested two of the men responsible, both employees of a New York-based marketing firm promoting awareness of the March 23 release. Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens were charged with placing a hoax device and disorderly conduct; both pleaded not guilty today in court. And then proceeded to give a press conference fielding questions only about hairstyles.
For the record, similar Mooninite-planting efforts were made in nine other metropolitan cities at the same time (reportedly weeks ago) with no resulting legal fuss: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Austin, Portland, and Philadelphia. (Anyone in those cities take pictures before the devices were removed/posted on ebay/removed from ebay?)
The incident already has it's own Wikipedia page (and is alternately being called "the 2007 Boston magnetic light scare" and the way funnier "Aquagate").
In all seriousness, the perpetrators (who face up to five years in prison) did make efforts to express regret to a city whose officials remain adamantly offended, even in the face of nationwide ridicule.
The Hunger Force trio in their movie trailer debut
Though the criminal charges (hopefully) won't stick, it seems parent company Turner Broadcasting (whose Cartoon Network airs "Aqua Teen Hunger Force") might get hit with a lawsuit; over in Los Angeles, the producers of "Mission: Impossible III" made a similar misjudgment in marketing back in April of 2006, when Paramount decided to promote the Tom Cruise actioner with theme song-playing music boxes. Music boxes inserted in news racks. News racks (well, one) that were subsequently blown up by the LA County Sheriffs department; cops also evacuated a veteran's hospital because of another news rack device.
As of Thursday, Paramount and The LA Times will be consequently sued by federal prosecutors over the stunt. It seems the "ATHF" brouhaha is destined to follow suit; let's just hope that the "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theatres" box office take makes up for the legal costs and potential monetary fines of the Boston Mooninite Affair of 2007.
"Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theatres" opens March 23; watch the trailer here!