Guerrilla marketing started out as a way to get attention when a business had no cash to buy traditional media. Now, it’s what big companies look for when they are trying to make up for bad ad strategies.

The ad that was mistaken for a bomb.Turner Broadcast Systems is probably reconsidering the cost effectiveness of a recent “guerrilla marketing” campaign for its Cartoon Network show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” where NY agency Interference placed signs that were mistaken for bombs in major cities including Boston.

FOXNews.com – Turner, Interference to Pay $2 Million for Botched Cartoon Network Ad Campaign in U.S. Cities – Local News | News Articles | National News | US News
BOSTON — Turner Broadcasting Systems and Interference Inc. agreed Monday to pay $2 million for an unconventional Cartoon Network advertising campaign last week that caused a widespread bomb scare, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced.

This isn’t the first time that “guerrilla ads” for major corporations have caused more headaches than they were worth. Sony did a graffiti campaign for Playstation portable, and Microsoft plastered a city with static cling decals for a software product with similar bad PR results.

Chalking sidewalks, human billboards, street teams, PR stunts are all pretty harmless and effective tools. And while some may say that this botched campaign got lots of press, it didn’t end up being cheap or positive press for the client. Before considering a “guerrilla campaign” the question one must ask is: how would I feel if someone did this to my mother? My sister? Me? The golden rule applies.

Advertise onto others, as you would have others advertise onto me.

And, if you think you are getting a free lunch- here’s a tip: there is no such thing as a free lunch, just ask Turner Broadcast Systems.