How a Book Burning Party Saved the Library

From Frederick Clarkson of Talk to Action:

What good is knowledge, if no one has access to it?  That was the underlying question in Troy, Michigan where Tea Party activists sought to thwart a small tax increase to keep the award winning library open. This was the third effort, and the anti-tax crowd was well organized.

But the people who wanted to save the library had an idea.

Chris Meadows at Teleread, writes:

 

So the library approached ad agency Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide Detroit and asked what they could do with a $3,500 budget. The company produced a guerilla and social marketing campaign (PDF) in which they pretended to be a clandestine group urging people to vote to close the library so they could hold a book-burning party afterward.They put up yard signs all over town, placed a classified ad asking for clowns and caterers for the party, and posted a Facebook page for their campaign where they made cute little inflammatory announcements like “Our agenda’s pretty simple. We want the library to close so we can have a book burning party. What’s not to get?” This had the effect of focusing the public’s attention away from the question of a tax increase and onto the question of losing a library’s worth of books. (They did reveal it was a hoax before the actual election.)

The campaign apparently worked; voter turnout in the election was 38%, double the anticipated 19%, and the vote won by a significant margin. And the campaign ended up winning an Effie Award, the marketing industry’s equivalent of an Oscar or Grammy.

The campaign ultimately revealed that the book burning party campaign was a hoax and that their intention was to send a message: “A vote against the library, is like a vote to burn books.”

Read the full article here.

 

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