My son loves a dog-earred copy of a book as much as his mother.
He is also a storyteller albeit a visual storyteller–he’s in advertising. One of his favorite pastimes is to scour the web for a brilliant ad or guerrilla marketing campaign. Invariably he’ll send me the link to his favorites and we’ll have a great time discussing why that particular campaign works. He was one of the first to find the little boy Darth Vader Volkswagen commercial.
Brilliant. I still watch that commercial when I need a smile for my heart. Once I had a little boy who dreamed of being a superhero with special powers.
Recently my son, who actually grew into a super hero (at least to his mother), told me about a campaign he’d heard about, to save the library system in Troy, MI. Now, this doesn’t have the cachet that would normally garner a particular 28 year-old-male’s attention, so I figured it must be good.
I was right.
So, the story goes something like this:
A tax increase to fund the library system’s budget for the next five years appeared on the next ballot. The town had voted it down several times and this was a last-ditch effort to save the libraries.
So, the library supporters, with the help of Leo Burnett, one the world’s premier advertising agencies, started a campaign…. to celebrate the library’s closing with a Book Burning party. Yes, you read that right–they invited everyone to burn the entire collection of the library at a party two days after the election.
So clever! They used yard signs, posters, Twitter, and all other various forms of information dissemination to invite everyone. They even had a FaceBook page and a YouTube video that went viral.
People in the town were outraged. The whole thing became an international incident. Horrible comments and accusations flew back and forth. Everyone pointed fingers and drew lines in the sand.
And they voted.
The whole idea of burning books so outraged the Troy citizens that they turned out in droves… to vote to save the libraries.
It didn’t take Einstein to connect the dots: a vote against the library is like a vote to burn books.
Here’s the link to an article about the campaign:
The whole thing was brilliant satire but it changed the conversation from taxes to libraries. From cost to benefit.
From the negative to the positive. But, it was a bit of fiction to make folks think about reality. And that made me smile. Isn’t that what fiction is for?
So, where do you stand on this bit of sleight of hand? Clever? Or deceiving?
Personally, I’ll stand up and give them all a round of applause. Mission accomplished…. But, with a caveat: there has to be a line you can’t cross. This is especially pertinent in light of the brouhaha created by some unscrupulous folks misusing metadata to have their erotica appear next to mainstream or even children’s books in the online retail section of WH Smith.
Is this the same or different? Does the goal justify the means?