Clever Publicity Swag Evacuates L.A. Office Building

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PR folks: If you have a list of items that don't belong in press kits, add "alarm clock" to it, or just remember, don't send promotional packages with alarm clocks in them. They can be mistaken for bombs. That's what happened in Los Angeles today, when a 27-story building on Wilshire Boulevard (at right) was evacuated after a "suspicious package" arrived for a DJ at KTWV FM ("The Wave"). After everyone cleared the place it was discovered that the beeping noise coming from inside the package was actually an alarm clock (shown above) that was part of some BET promotional package, reports Variety's Cynthia Littleton reported. (Variety's own offices are just a few blocks west down Wilshire.) No word on what show was being promoted, so BET doubly did a bad job.

But what a hassle the whole thing was. The building was cleared around 8:48 a.m. KNX, one of the three radio stations in the building, began streaming the feed of its sister CBS station in San Francisco, so L.A. commuters got the surreal experience of hearing the traffic conditions on the Bay Bridge. "There's a lot of people on the street," one told the local NBC affiliate. "Starbucks has been overwhelmed because there are lines out the door." Now that everyone's back to work, "radio and TV entertainment departments in L.A. suddenly are checking their mails for packages that could be ticking, clicking and beeping," tweets KNX's Randy Kerdoon. But we're guessing that's not because they're on edge for bombs. Rather they don't want BET swag ruining their days. 

In a 2006 marketing stunt for Mission: Impossible III, the Los Angeles Times let Paramount wire its news boxes to play the Mission: Impossible theme whenever they were opened. Because people do not expect their news boxes to make music, and because of some shoddy installation that left protruding wires, the L.A. County bomb squad blew up one of the boxes, to keep the public safe from entertainment publicity.

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