In the big hubbub about the Boston Cartoon Network bomb scare thing, I thought it was very strange how the CEO of Interference Inc., Sam Ewen, seemed to disappear, issuing only a written statement while his hired guns went to jail and the CEO of Cartoon Network had to resign.
Now, two weeks later, he’s given an interview to Brandweek:
BW: Was there any concern in the planning stages that it could be taken out of context? Somebody could see this as a scary threat? If so, did you have any kind of backup plan or any idea . . . just in terms of maybe a brainstorming meeting? Do you have to get permits to do that sort of thing or was it all kind of done on the sly?
SE: The signs were never designed to scare people, to get people into a panic state. They were designed for what they were, which was a showcase, the characters, the flight. That’s as much as I can tell you, anyway.
BW: When do you think (and I know you can’t talk about real specifics about the day of the news story) but, when to you did this really get out of control?
SE: The campaign in all markets had been up for weeks with no commentary at the time. From the moment that we got word of what was happening we focused on it and took it seriously. I don’t think there was ever a moment we said, “Okay, now it’s crossed the line.” It’s from the moment we heard about it, we took it seriously, we discussed it with our client and we took action.
They took action from the moment they heard about it? If by taking action, you mean filming the massive police response to the bomb scare, then yes, they took action right away.
I’m still curious to know who’s paying the legal bills for the two dudes who went to jail over this. And has this whole thing made anyone rethink their guerrilla marketing tactics? Are your clients a little more skittish now when you propose some silly stunt like this?