Fines Levied In Boston Case

According to the Washington Post, parties responsible for last week’s viral marketing “bomb scare” have a hefty price to pay for their actions.

Turner Broadcasting Systems and a marketing company have agreed to pay $2 million compensation and apologize for their advertising campaign that caused a widespread terrorism scare.
The agreement with several state and local agencies resolves any potential civil or criminal claims against Turner and Interference Inc., said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.
As part of the settlement, $1 million will be used to reimburse the agencies and $1 million will be used to fund homeland security and other programs. Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner Inc., and Interference Inc. also will issue a public statement accepting full responsibility and apologizing for the incident.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Maybe that million bucks could be used to teach Boston first responders how to tell the difference between a bomb and a Lite-Brite.

  2. daveednyc,
    not to direct folks to other blogs, but there’s a decent discussion at on this topic.
    personally, i think turner got off easy. they should pay significantly more. any company that agrees so quickly to restitution realizes two things: they’re wrong and they’re getting off easy.

  3. My question is what percentage of the 2 mil does Turner pay? The corollary to that is, can Interference Inc. afford their portion of the fine? Or is this the end of the road for them?

  4. I think Interference should pay the entire fine. They are likely the ones who hatched the scheme and plotted it. It seems like it should have been their responsibility to get permission to post the devices. Remember, Sony was hammered for its PSP graffiti campaign when certain cities said it violated local ordinances. Unless Interference secured the permission to post their stuff, they were essentially breaking the law. You can’t just post stuff in public places — hell, you can’t even hold protest rallies without alerting authorities first. If Interference is an expert in guerilla tactics, they should have known better.

  5. What’s the matter with those idiots in Boston? Can’t tell the difference between a lighted ad and a bomb? What are the cops going to do next? Tape off the break room at work because a newspaper was left open to the comics.

  6. Not sure why so many people are bringing up the same, tired argument about how apparently ignorant Boston citizens are for mistaking the devices for bombs. The truly ignorant folks in this scenario are Turner Broadcasting, Interference and the morons hired to install the devices.
    Let’s recall that a terrorist tried to set off explosives in his shoe, and now you can’t board a plane without having to remove your footwear for inspection. No one’s gonna label their explosives like Wile E. Coyote, folks.
    Additionally, if you want to consider another source for inspiring terrorist paranoia, look no further than our own president. Bush brings it up whenever he hopes to gain support for the war in Iraq or any other political endeavor. He even mentioned terrorist plots allegedly foiled in his recent primetime speech. Hell, he may have indirectly fueled the fears that led to the chaos.

  7. Denny Munson says:

    After doing the same thing in nine other cities and Boston was the only Police force to freak out.
    I think they should pay the two they arrested each a million for false arrest.

  8. Denny Munson,
    The only question is: Did they really do the same thing in other cities?
    It seems possible that the morons in Boston installed the devices in bad areas (e.g., tunnels, overpasses, etc.). Were devices installed in equally stupid locations in other cities? Sorry, but it’s against the law to simply post shit wherever you feel like it. Unless Turner and Interference got official permission to display their stuff, they were minimally breaking the law in that regard.