Bad press isn’t bad, except when it’s awful

So one of the men who’s been criminally charged after placing blinking cartoon ads around Boston and causing a terrorism scare reportedly videotaped a police bomb squad removing one of the devices, but did not tell the officers the object was harmless. A lawyer for the man said he was not aware the police were dealing with one of the devices that he (or an associate) planted as a promotion for Turner’s Cartoon Network. It’s the kind of response that prompts that nonplussed look of disbelief from John Stewart on The Daily Show when he looks into the camera after someone says something utterly ridiculous in a sound bite from the news of the day. But hey, it’s all part of a brilliant ad campaign, according to those responding to an online poll for Adweek in recent days. Of the roughly 1,200 respondents through late Tuesday, 40 percent characterized the terror scare as “priceless, thanks to the resulting media frenzy.” But I think the ROI may have slipped a little bit below priceless with confirmation from the city of Boston that Turner and its guerrilla marketing company will pay $2 million to avoid criminal and civil lawsuits from the city.

—Posted by Steve McClellan