I’ve talked about how creating clever and compelling content frequently means walking a fine line between the positive and the negative. Just as the opposite of love is not hate, but rather apathy, the opposite of positive compelling creative is NOT negative creative.
Take for example, the not so recent Terrorists Marketing Tactics Campaign launched by Cartoon Network to promote their upcoming movie for Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The campaign certainly took the awareness of the upcoming release to new heights, garnering top mention on almost every media source in North America when they placed small LED circuit boxes featuring a character from the show giving the middle finger. (Which this character is prone to doing on the show.)
The marketing ploy turned full fledged incident brought Boston bomb squads running, closing roadways and bridges, tying up the city of Boston for most of the day in question. Not only was legendary Boston traffic snarled, but it’s been reported that the Pentagon was alerted and the U.S. Northern Command was monitoring the situation from its headquarters in Colorado Springs.
The question we always ask at my house when something like this happens is this: “Does this make me want to see the movie (or purchase the product in question)?”
Because my home is populated with pubescent males and a pubsescent female, I know it’s a real turd if NO ONE in the house answers the question above positively… and no one could in this case.
By the way, the story’s a bit old now, but I’m amused by one online account that reported the event with this spin:
“A great family-oriented brand has been damaged in an incalculable way, and significant monetary damage could follow via compensatory damages, fines and legal fees.”
Um… obviously the author has never WATCHED even a single episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. My 12 year old is NOT allowed to watch a single episode. The characters on the animated show are routinely maimed and disfigured. Actually, to promote the film in a way that DOESN’T conjure up imaginary threats to national security would probably be out of character with the genre.
By the way, Cartoon Network promoted the film the other night by playing the ENTIRE movie, in it’s entirety, during their regularly scheduled programming. The movie played constantly in a TINY box on the screen. At inopportune moments, the movie would take up the full screen and then would revert back to it’s tiny portion of the small screen.