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Booking Celebs for a Cause

May 11, 1999|BOOTH MOORE

The latest celebrity-driven ad campaign isn't about getting caught with a foamy milk mustache. It's about getting caught reading a book.

The Assn. of American Publishers has dubbed May "Get Caught Reading Month." The campaign features striking shots of Rosie O'Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg looking as if they've been caught red-handed with books. The advertisements are now appearing in magazines and newspapers, which are donating the space for free, and on posters in bookstores.

The national industrywide program is designed to encourage reading and book buying, particularly among 18- to 34-year-olds.

"A recent study shows while Americans over the age of 55 account for 32% of books purchased, those under age 35 account for only 20%," says former congresswoman Pat Schroeder, who is now president and chief executive of the association. "We've found many in this group are 'lapsed readers,' meaning they've forgotten how much fun it is to be caught up in the plot of book you can't put down."

Like the Got Milk campaign, the Get Caught Reading campaign is supposed to be lighthearted and fun, says Judy Platt, an association spokeswoman.

"If the dairy industry can take something as bland as milk and make it fun, imagine what we can do with books?"

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