The New York Public Library gives away its product for free and enjoys a seemingly endless stream of customers.
So why should the NYPL care at all about photo marketing?
Fast Company magazine just did a fascinating interview with Ken Weine, NYPL’s vice president of communications and marketing, about the library’s new photo booth initiative.
Called “You @NYPL,” the campaign invites library visitors to stare into the camera, strike a pose that reflects their personality and then pick an action verb that describes the purpose of their visit. The spirited collection, which resembles those iconic black-and-white portrait strips you’d get at an amusement park, is shared on the NYPL’s Flicker page.
“We are trying to stir the pot,” Weine tells Fast Company. “One thing we’ve learned from the photo booth is there’s so much passion for libraries, and people are personally attached to their branch. There’s a lot of fertile ground to engage with people.”
So a photo-driven social media campaign that galvanizes the library’s most devoted supporters is the perfect strategy now that public funding cuts appear likely.
Photobooths are currently installed in the city’s 42nd Street and mid-Manhattan library branches, with requests streaming in from other locations to join in the fun, too. The midtown NYPL branch draws an annual 1.4 million visitors alone.
The image of the “sexy librarian” has become embedded in our pop culture over the years, but now maybe the library itself can be thought of us a romantic spot for young and old couples alike. Certainly, the NYPL photo booths have already become kissing booths.
The NYPL is thinking of itself as a brand — and why shouldn’t it? The NYPD and NYFD logos sell tons of t-shirts — and even the New York Department of Sanitation had a brief fling with its own fashion line.
Residents and tourists are loving the promotion, with poses including praying, bunny ears, cross eyes, wagging tongues, flirtatious glances, hypnotic stares and glowering scowls.
The book is getting some major face time on the Internet — and there’s nothing scandalous about that!
Even though the camera phone “selfie” has stripped some of the novelty from the old fashioned photo booth, the “You @NYPL” campaign proves that it’s a bit premature to call it extinct.
(Pongr is an advertising technology company that helps brands and agencies monetize the stream of consumer photos shared on the Web. Learn more about Photo Response Marketing.)