Spoof “book burning party” generates support for Michigan library

There’s a long tradition of using spoofs and hoaxes to generate publicity, as in the famous case of a British ad agency that promoted its services by advertising a non-existent Australian perfume called Sheila with the slogan “Also Kills Flies.”

Last year a “Save the Library” group in Troy Michigan, up against a well-funded anti-tax campaign backed by the Tea Party, created signs and web pages urging people to vote against a new library tax and then celebrate its defeat with a party three days later to burn the books, generate a lot of public comment (and outrage). Before the election they came clean that it was a hoax, and that generated comment as well. Here’s an explanation created by the group after the fact:

I have my reservations about the use of hoaxes in political campaigns — there’s too much dishonesty to start with — but given the unequal resources of the two sides in this instance, maybe it was necessary. Anyway, it’s interesting.

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