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Those Pesky Marketers Are At it Again in Boston

Old Granary burial ground
Originally uploaded by hbomb1947.

Seeking buried treasure in Boston several people camped outside one of Boston's cemeteries in search of a gold coin put there by Dr Pepper's marketing people reports the Boston Globe. The coin was part of a nationwide treasure hunt that went awry. The Old Granary Burial Ground is part of a national park and has a number of revolutionary war heroes buried there, including Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Paul Revere. Park officials were alerted to the campaign when frustrated treasure seekers called the city up to open the gates to the cemetery early Friday morning.

This campaign is similar to the Cartoon Network's Teen Hunger Force campaign in that Dr Pepper failed to ask the property owners permission to use the cemetery. As I wrote in my post about the bomb scare caused by the Cartoon Network campaign, I think marketers should ask property owners before disturbing their property. Some people might think the extra publicity is good for business, however not all publicity is good publicity in terms of giving your company a return on investment. In the case of the Cartoon Network, audience figures did not rise noticeably; Turner Broadcasting paid $2 million to Boston area government busting the company’s $750,000 budget for the promotion and the head of the Cartoon Network resigned.

Dr Pepper has apologized and promised to reimburse the city for the extra security and donate $10,000 to the cemetery.

The Globe reports the coin was found.

According to the Globe Boston City Council President Maureen E. Feeney will be holding hearings on the issue of guerilla marketing. The hearing has been tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. on March 6 inside the council chamber at Boston City Hall.

As a board member with the Boston American Marketing Association I'd like to invite City Council President Maureen E. Feeney to the Boston Marketing Club next week, an event held by the Boston Chapter of the American Marketing Association. As the community discussion topic is guerilla marketing, I think it would be healthy for the council to get local Boston marketer's views on the issue and perhaps some ideas about how such issues might be handled in the future.