By now, most people must have seen what caused some massive traffic delays in Boston, fear of terrorism, and some pretty uncomfortable press for a major network. Ok, the almost pavlovian response to a number of unlicensed ad signs might have been overblown, and one could make the case that this plays well into a general atmosphere of hysteria and fear.
However, even the remotest advertising monkey should have realized by now, that there has been a major terror attack in which more then 2500 people died. Part of this attack (and subsequent attempts) was an intentional disruption of public services – bridges, planes, trains, etc. Putting unprofessional ad signs, with wires, batteries and LEDs at critical infrastructure points and high-traffic areas is not only stupid, but DOES raise old anxieties. This is highly unnecessary and – as far as I am concerned – “Terror in Advertising” (some might call it ‘Guerilla tactics’, but this seems to be a point of view).
I would love to see those responsible punished by the full extend of the law, since these sign were deliberately positioned at critical points – it seems quite implausible that the possible ramifications of such placement were not obvious (unless – of course – they do plead stupid, which is also not too unlikely). Also, a full prosecution and punishment (including termination of the cartoon series, and revocation of their broadcasting license) should serve as a reasonable deterrence for potential other Terror-Advertisers, they feel like they have to top this so called ‘stunt’.