Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Maybe They'll Call It "Meatwad's Law"

I don't, for the record, support legislation by anecdote. The title refers to the unfortunate American habit of naming laws, as though conjuring the image of some precious youngster tragically departed could add enough gravity to justify circumventing the usual legal process. It's a symptom of the same disease that causes us to try minors as adults, or to establish murky legal categories to indefinitely detain suspicious Arabs. It's the false belief that our current times are significant enough to abandon those pesky legal protections.

On the off chance that the local follies haven't reached a national audience, the city of Boston has fallen victim to two "guerrilla marketing" campaigns in 2007. One, advertising for the terrorists at the Cartoon Network, confused local authorities into thinking Lite BriteTM displays were bombs. (I mean, they didn't even have red ticking numbers. Those terrorists are nothing if not crafty.) Another recent campaign by Dr. Pepper led scavenger hunters into protected historic monuments. The first brought out the full pressure of the authorities: bomb squads and sirens and guys in uniforms getting their faces blotted with powder for the cameras. The second merely induced some carefully directed public outrage.

Rather than admit that the reaction was overheated, expensive, and retarded, the city of Boston called a hearing yesterday to best prevent these perpetrators from terrorizing [sic] us again. Quoth the Globe:

In the aftermath of two recent guerrilla marketing stunts that ran afoul of local authorities, members of the City Council said today they would consider forcing all corporate marketers to obtain city licenses before they can push products.

The proposal’s authors, Maureen E. Feeney and Stephen J. Murphy, said new measures are needed because fines and regulations on the books do little to deter massive corporations seeking publicity through unconventional marketing campaigns.

Because, you know, existing laws just weren't good enough, and it's assumed in all cases that if the guys in uniforms are excited, then someone else is responsible.


switters said...

That was good. Enjoyed it. Were they really Lite Brites, or did you add that? Nice touch.

The thing at the end was perfect.

On ticking time bombs. When I did my Britney post about her 24 hour rehab miracle, daveto's response gave me a great idea about doing 24 posts that each week would ask the question, What would Brit Brit do were she in Jack Bauer's position, stuff like accidentally backing over terrorists, throwing her babies at crooked cops, barfing on a possible hijacker, all things that would inadvertently save the day?

Might be fun, but I don't think I could sustain the momentum or the interest. Who knows?

Great post. Thanks.

Keifus said...

Hey switters.

Since as far as I know, you're still cable-less, this'll probably help.

Also check out my blog, beyotch. Not everything makes it over here. Some of the stuff doesn't even embarrass me very much. (As for botf, I'm aiming to make my presence there completely trivial.)


twiffer said...

mentioned this on your original. the assumption that "unconventional marketing campaigns" need to be discouraged is problematic. why?

Keifus said...

Why is the response problematic, or why is the need for one assumed?

When this occurred, the Boston police got really excited, and after failing to root the things out very effectively, they patted themselves on the back for job well done, for averting a disaster you know. It was all over the local coverage.

Why is it assumed that we need this protection? Because lookit how easy it would be for the terrorists! They're pissed because they got scared. Now whether (a) outlawing guerrilla marketing makes it any less easy for terrorists to plant bombs, or (b) does anything really, or (c) whether the cops' response was appropriate, or (d) if it's going to make people less scared in the future, rather than more, I'll have to vote no on all.

[Lite Brite ain't original to me, btw. It was something pretty close to that absurd, I think done with LEDs. IOZ used the words (and better than me, sigh) but I'm pretty sure I heard or read it elsewhere before he got to it.]

Schadenfreude said...


Keifus said...

Why'd ya bother schad?