an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Banned Books Week: Be Your Own Robot

Posted by Rosepixie on May 22, 2010

The American Library Association creates promotional materials for the various campaigns that libraries across the country run and one of the big ones is Banned Books Week.  It happens every year and is designed to promote awareness of the issue and encourage people to read banned books and fight against censorship.  Each year the campaign has a theme that carries through the promotional materials.  This is the poster for the most recent one.

The text reads:

Think for yourself and let others do the same.

Banned Books Week

I love this poster.  It features three robots who are of essentially identical design, but the one in the middle has removed the plug from his head and has a different eye color and a smile instead of a serious frown.  He’s reading a book.  The other two stand at attention, but the reader looks casual and comfortable, enjoying his book.  I have to wonder what he’s reading (my first inclination is that it’s something like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? but that seems too obvious).

Besides being cute, this poster does a good job of conveying the position of the library’s campaign through an image.  They worry that the people trying to deny access for everyone to anything they see as objectionable are doing so because they want everyone to think and act the same way – to be identical, programmed robots who never question or think outside the box.  This is a simplification, of course, but it does get to the root of the issue.

I think this is actually one of the most effective posters for Banned Books Week I’ve seen.  It’s image is clear, the message is uncomplicated and easily understood.  It’s also one of the riskiest, one of the most daring.  It directly shows what opponents of censorship fear the ultimate goal for censors is, and that’s a more political and almost belligerent things to do than simply list books that have been banned or encourage people to read them.  It’s more interesting, engaging and effective than many of their previous campaigns, despite its simplicity.  And that may be why it’s my favorite of the ones I’ve seen.


4 Responses to “Banned Books Week: Be Your Own Robot”

  1. Eva said

    Have you reviewed any other ads from this campaign? I’d be interested to see what else it’s being compared to. 🙂

  2. Spencer said

    Yes, this ad campaign has a lot of promise, and you make some valid points. It’s simple, yet it challenges conformity, authoritarianism, and censorship in such an innocent way. It does make reading appealing, interesting, and relaxing–the lights are lit up!

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. […] Banned Books Week: Be Your Own Robot ” an Ad a Day ( Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: