Troy, Michigan recently tried three times to get a tax increase passed to give the library sufficient funding to stay open. The vote failed twice, and had only one last shot on the ballot, days before the library would have to close. But as with two previous attempts, it was facing well-organized opposition who had managed to make the issue all about opposition to new taxes with no mention of the library at all.
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 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 [ice cream vendors] 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.
And voter turnout was nearly double what it was expected to be and the library was saved.