BoingBoing writes that the city of Troy, MI didn't have enough money to keep the library open, so it tried to get a tax increase of 0.7% passed by the voters. A local Tea Party group inundated the city with TV ads, posters and mailers opposing the tax increase, simply because it was a tax increase--they didn't care that it was for the library. The tax increase was defeated in two separate elections. The library was able to schedule a third and final vote, which the Tea Party again opposed. This time, however, the library approached ad agency Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide for help. They only had $3,500 for the campaign.
The ad agency came up with a brilliant idea: They created a sham
"astroturfing" political group and started putting signs up on lawns around
the city, saying "Vote to Close Troy Library August 2nd; Book Burning
Party August 5th." The signs had a link to a Facebook page about the
book burning party. People in the community stole the signs; the library
secretly put them back up. They even launched an eCommerce site selling,
among other things, book bags (the site said "Book bags--what a quaint
idea.") The "close the library-burn the books" campaign got local
attention, then national and international press--and then, a few days
before the election, the agency posted the real message on the Facebook
page: Closing the library is equivalent to burning its books. That got a
new flood of coverage.
When the election came, turnout was twice as high as expected, and the
tax won in a landslide. By focusing voters on the value of literacy and
shared community, rather than taxes, the library won.