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When marketing stunts go wrong…

February 27th, 2007 by Lloyd Gofton

It appears someone in Boston has upset the marketing Gods.

You probably saw the terrorism scare caused by Cartoon Network’s marketing stunt earlier this year, which involved blinking promotional signs dotted around Boston. The result was criminal charges, closed highways and bridges, and a resignation from the head of Cartoon Network, as overviewed in Time.

Well, now Cadbury Schweppes has done its best to upset the residents of Boston by launching a treasure hunt as part of a Dr Pepper promotion. Seems harmless, until it was discovered part of the challenge was to dig up the 347-year-old Granary Burying Ground, final resting place of historic figures such as John Hancock, Paul Revere and Samuel Adams.

Why would anyone do it? Well for money of course. Up to £760,000 to be exact, for anyone who found one of the gold coins that Cadbury’s marketing agency had buried there.

The Independent has the full story.

Apparently The city’s authorities only found out about the competition when contestants started complaining that the graveyard was closed because of icy paths.

An official from the marketing firm retrieved the coin and no damage was done…Well except to the reputations of Cadbury Schweppes, Dr Pepper, the marketing company, and perhaps the loss of a few jobs.

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