Minneapolis Intellectuals Have No Trouble Reading Between The Lines

from Minneapolis Star Tribune: What do Mao Zedong, J. Edgar Hoover, Batgirl and Casanova have to do with the new Minneapolis Central Library?
They’re part of an edgy new ad campaign from the Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library — edgier than the organization even expected. It has generated heated e-mails from as far away as Taiwan, and the campaign hasn’t even been formally launched.
Critics say that promoting the library with images of Mao and Hoover is inappropriate and offensive. But the creators say that misinformation spread through Web logs produced confusion about the ads’ true content.
Still, the commotion is producing the desired result — raising awareness about the new downtown library.
The $125 million, five-story building designed by Cesar Pelli is under construction on Nicollet Mall and is scheduled to open in spring 2006, the flagship of the city’s 15-library system.
“If there is a scandal here, it’s the closed signs in library windows,” said Colin Hamilton, executive director of the Friends of the Minneapolis Library. “We’ve laid off 25 percent of our staff and cut hours by 35 percent. We couldn’t rely on the same images we’d always used, like testimonials from librarians. They didn’t work.”
The ad campaign was donated by the Andrews/Birt agency, creator of such eye-catching campaigns as the city of Excelsior’s “Secede from Starbucks Nation” that caused a ruckus a couple of years ago.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.