Check it out: When brands take over classic lit

A campaign to restore funding to Ontario public libraries shows what happens when famous books become product placement.

A truism of life is that someone always has to pay.

So, last month, when the Ontario provincial government announced a 50% budget cut to library services in the province, resulting in the loss of inter-library loans and layoffs, a question quickly surfaced: if not the government, then who would pay to save public libraries?

Since the announcement, a petition has been circulating online to restore the funding, and a new “Save Our Libraries” campaign by Juniper Park\TBWA aims to amplify that message through ads that depict a “dystopian future” in which there is virtually no government support for libraries.

Naturally, the campaign shows brands stepping in to fill funding gap, transforming classic works of literature into platforms for product placement and brand messaging.

Digital transit shelter and newspaper ads, for instance, show Oliver Twist’s request “for more,” cuing an ad for oatmeal. In another execution, a radio commercial featuring the chant “All for one, one for all!” (from Alexander Dumas’ The Three Musketeers) segues into a local pizza joint touting two-for-one large three-topping pizzas.

Each piece of creative ends with the same message – “If we don’t support public libraries, someone else will”  and encourages viewers to visit and sign the petition. To date, it has earned more than 63,000 signatures.