Troy Public Library Outdoor, Case study "Book Burning Party" by Leo Burnett Detroit

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"Book Burning Party"

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Industry Book store
Media Outdoor, Billboard, Poster, Transportation & Vehicles, Case study
Market United States
Agency Leo Burnett Detroit
Creative Director Bob Veasey, Glen Hilzinger
Copywriter Mike Davis, Rob Thiemann
Released February 2011


Cannes Lions 2012
Media Lions Best Localised Campaign Bronze

Credits & Description

Category: Best use of Social Media Marketing in a Promotional Campaign
Global Executive Creative Director: Peter McHugh (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Creative Director: Glen Hilzinger (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Creative Director: Bob Veasey (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Creative Services Director: Tony Booth (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Intern/Art Director: Derek Tent (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Copywriter: Rob Thiemann (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Creative Technologist: John McClaire (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Senior Producer: Jennie Hochthanner (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Sr. Client Project Manager: Jennifer Samra (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Copywriter: Mike Davis (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Media placement: Facebook Fan Page - Facebook - 28 June 2011
Media placement: Twitter Page - Twitter - 30 June 2011
Media placement: Lawn Signs - Wild Posting - 5 July 2011
Media placement: YouTube Channel - YouTube - 8 July 2011
Media placement: Branded Items For Sale - - 8 July 2011
Media placement: Signs For Sale - EBay - 12 July 2011
Media placement: Want Ad - Troy Times Newspaper - 15 July 2011
Media placement: Flyers - Wild Posting - 18 July 2011
Media placement: Foursquare Location - Mobile - 20 July 2011

Describe the objective of the promotion.
Due to a struggling economy, Troy, Michigan could no longer afford its library, so it scheduled a vote for a 0.7% tax increase. With no organised support for the library, a well-funded anti-tax group had been waging a dominating campaign against it. In order to win the vote and save the library, we knew we had to change the conversation. We had to get voters to stop talking about the tax increase, and start talking about what it would mean to lose their award-winning library and all the services it provides. We had to get ‘Yes’ voters to the polls.

Describe how the promotion developed from concept to implementation.
With little money and only weeks until the vote, we knew we had to do something extreme. Posing as a clandestine political group, we posted signs around Troy that said, ‘Vote to close Troy library Aug 2, Book Burning Party Aug 5’. Our signs invited an infuriated public to our Facebook page, and we added Twitter, Foursquare, flyers and more to help drive engagement. The campaign grew from local to international news as outcry over the idea of burning the library’s books drowned out the opposition and galvanised support for the library - which won the election by a landslide.

Explain why the method of promotion was most relevant to the product or service.
With a total campaign budget of only US$3500, we couldn’t rely on paid media to break through voter indifference. We had to get voters to do it for us. With Facebook at the core, we ignited a social media conversation that gave voice to library supporters and garnered support from around the world. We created a platform from which to drown out the opposition and change the conversation from taxes to the importance of libraries, books and reading.

Describe the success of the promotion with both client and consumer including some quantifiable results.
With only US$100 in paid media, we generated over 650,000 impressions on Facebook and Twitter, and over 1m impressions worldwide. Our story became national and international news in just 2 weeks. We managed to create a global conversation about a local issue, helping a community realise that whether the books are sold or burned, the result is the same - if the vote failed, their award-winning library and its books would be gone forever. In the end, voters flocked to the polls at numbers 342% greater than projected. The library won the election by a landslide.