Thursday, February 01, 2007

Lite Brite Is Not a Bomb

Sorry. I just don't get it. Much ado about nothing, I say.

The Boston guerrilla marketing campaign gone wrong falls upon the perceivers rather than the stimulus. When I saw the thing, I thought, "it's a bleepin' Lite Brite." Then I read this quotation on

"It's so not threatening -- it's a Lite Brite," said twenty-two-year-old Todd Venderlin, a design student at the Parsons School of Design in New York City, saw one of the devices two weeks ago as he left a lounge in south Boston, according to The Boston Globe.

Seriously, the whole terror threat thing is absolutely out-of-control. I tried pretty hard not to think about this whole deal, but two e-mails from my dad forced it into my conscious perception.

My dad, Samuel D. Bradley version 2.0, wrote: "During the golden years of local radio (1950 to 1975), hiding things for the public to find was a widespread promotion practice. In 1954 or 1955, WHB radio in Kansas City held a "Treasure Hunt", with a paltry first prize of $1,000. They broadcast clues to where the prize was hidden. Huge traffic jams blocked major streets leading to the hiding place. But no one thought of a law suit. It was all great fun for everyone but those of us working for competitor stations -- we kicked ourselves for not thinking of the idea first.

"In 1963, the station where I worked increased transmitter power from 1,000 to 5,000 watts. As part of our promotional efforts, we acquired dozens of little battery operated, transistor clock radios. We turned each one on, tuned to our station, put them in plastic bags and 'hid' them all over the city. Imagine walking through a park, hearing music coming out of a tree, and finding a plastic bag sitting in a fork of the tree. People picked them up, saw what they were, and stole them.

"Boston says they spent a half million dollars trying to solve the problem of the little blinking thing. The mayor is demanding stiff penalties, lawyers are talking about class action lawsuits, competitors of Turner Broadcasting are dancing in the streets and some of us are shedding a tear for what we have lost in America."
If the first amendment protects flag burning and the Klan, surely a Lite Brite is protected speech. A hidden Lite Brite is not quite shouting "fire" in movie theatre.

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