There is not very much information about this campaign floating around. The campaign was handled by Allen & Gerritsen, was art directed by Maureen Metzler, and photographed by Craig Orsini. The ads were published in June 2008. It is not clear who these were intended for (print ads? For what publications?), nor how long these images were used, if it all.

The large copy on these ads reads:

  • “I’m taking an acting class to practice my ‘I don’t know’ face.”
  • “We don’t have chats at the water cooler. We have summits.”
  • “I’m like your friend who knows everything about everything, only I’m right”

What is most interesting about these ads is how they were received on Ads of the World. Here’s a sample of some of the negative comments:

  • “It may be funny to people who hate nerds, but it won’t get people into the library. It’ll just perpetuate negative stereotypes about libraries.”
  • “Can someone please tell me how they’d be able to locate a book in that messy library shelf now that all the cover spines are angled away?”
  • “What exactly can the positive intent be in making the library look like a disorganized place full of arrogant know-it-alls?”
  • “Personally, I’m offended by the ads. They aren’t advertising the library, they’re making fun of the people who use or work at the library.”

To be fair, there were some positive comments about the campaign, but the majority skewed toward the critical. Based on the mixed reviews, these ads demonstrate the challenge of trying to suggest that libraries are full of smart people that want to help the community. Tonally, that needs to be perfect, and this campaign did not quite hit the mark.

Institution: Boston Public Library
A&G, Maureen Metzler, Craig Orsini