Friday, June 09, 2006

Mission Craptacular

I love when bad ideas go awry. It's awesomely bad to see how something that was a little bit of crap gets implemented poorly and snowballs into a great big pile of steaming trouble.

That happened in Los Angeles recently when the LA Times tried to spice up the launch of the new Tom Cruise vehicle (no, not Katie and her spud, his lame movie) with a little promotion rigged to go off when someone bought a paper from the newsboxes. You were supposed to buy a paper from one of the machines and as you opened the paper box a little device would play the Mission Impossible theme song. Kind of cool, right? Of course in the tv show those recorded messages with the instructions for the mission always blew up. Foreshadowing is a harsh mistress.

The audio players for the theme song included red, black and white wires that were visible from outside of the box. You can see this coming from a mile away, can't you.

Someone called the Bomb Squad and they actually blew up a box. Luckily the devices were only in 4500 boxes all over the Los Angeles and Ventura county area. That's just 10 million people distributed over about 7000 square miles. And unfortunately one of the boxes was in West LA near the VA hospital. The same VA hospital that evacuated 250 people and 50 patients.

"Lives were at risk," said the spokesperson for the VA. The Times countered with "We weren't expecting anything like this."

Who do you think won that battle of the quotes?

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