The Heartland Institute disputes global warming, but that didn't stop the conservative social-issues group from turning up the heat with a suburban Chicago billboard showing a typically crazy-faced portrait of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and the headline, "I still believe in global warming. Do you?" After predictably pissing off just about everyone generating lots of free publicity, Heartland removed the incendiary sign. "This provocative billboard was always intended to be an experiment," the group says. "And after just 24 hours the results are in: It got people’s attention. This billboard was deliberately provocative, an attempt to turn the tables on the climate alarmists by using their own tactics but with the opposite message." It's unclear if the organization intends to make good on its original plan (some would say threat) to depict Charles Manson, Fidel Castro and Osama bin Laden on subsequent signs. "These rogues and villains were chosen because they made public statements about how man-made global warming is a crisis," Heartland explains. For now, the group is reveling in the coverage generated by its PETA-style "marketing strategy," convinced that $200 for a one-day billboard equals significant bang for the buck. Ultimately, however, such antics always bomb; they leave the public cold—which would be a relief, as the temperature for some mysterious reason seems to be on the rise these days.
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