In a first for the organization, the New York Public Library had a fun Black Friday “sale” promoting the library. Here’s how it turned into a viral success…

With a print ad in the New York Times and an accompanying social media campaign, the library proclaimed all books “100% percent off” – an “unlimited time offer.”

Chief external relations officer, Carrie Welch, said of the campaign:

The crazy thing about consumerism around the holidays is it’s slightly out of control; there are so many messages about how to spend money and we felt that this was a great opportunity to say: ‘You can get so much [at the library] for no money at all. We had leaders in the past that just didn’t think this was the best place to put our marketing heft at the time, but [my colleague Montefinise] is a dog with a bone and it was a great idea, so she raised it again.

Th campaign achieved considerable success, with the library processing double the usual amount of online library card signups in a day. The campaign’s microsite received over 20,000 visitors the first day, and their social media animation received 51,000 views.

The library’s success proves that you don’t have to be a retailer to take advantage of the hype surrounding the holidays. What type of creative campaign can you run in the coming year?