Why ad agency said "Burn books!" to save a library

They put up signs advertising a book burning party

How to save the library


This is the action taken by ad agency Leo Burnett:
The city of Troy, Michigan was facing a budget shortfall, and was considering closing the Troy Public Library for lack of funds. Even though the necessary revenues could be raised through a miniscule tax increase, powerful anti-tax groups in the area were organized against it. A vote was scheduled amongst the city's residents, to shut the library or accept the tax increase, and Leo Burnett Detroit decided to support the library by creating a reverse psychology campaign. Yard signs began appearing that read: "Vote to Close Troy Library on August 2nd - Book Burning Party on August 5th." No one wants to be a part of a town that burns books, and the outraged citizens of Troy pushed back against the "idiotic book burners" and ultimately supported the tax increase, thus ensuring the library's survival.
(But not everyone was happy about being fooled, including someone who works at the library, saying that the ad agency took too much credit for the win, and made an emotional issue even more emotional and confusing.)

- Leo Burnett Detroit Saves Local Library by Threatening Book Burning, Mediabistro, AgencySpy>>
- Troy Library: Save the library, Ads of the World>>

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