Imagine eating in a restaurant, reaching for the condiments, and finding a miniature volume of "To Kill a Mockingbird"? How about walking up a path and stepping on "The Grapes of Wrath"?
Better still, what would you think if you found a copy of "Seabiscuit" in between boxes of Cheerios and Corn Flakes? Aside from thinking it should be filed between Rice Krispies and Special K, I would also wonder why books are appearing in the cereal aisle.
All this, and more, happened to residents of Greenville, S.C. to promote the Greenville Literacy Association's annual fundraiser, the Really Good, Really Big, Really Cheap Book Sale.
The campaign increased fundraiser awareness and encouraged people to donate by asking, "Have any books lying around?" in unusual settings.
"The concept started with the thought that everyone has books lying around their home in various places -- so we started thinking of simple ways of reminding people of those books that sit untouched on shelves, in boxes, in attics, under beds and in closets in people's homes," said Stephen Childress, senior copywriter at the bounce agency, creators of the campaign and media buy. "We ended up with several unique ways of telling people -- 'Hey. You've got books you're not using. Donate them to a good cause,'" he said.
In addition to actual books placed in supermarkets, the outside of a parking garage was made to resemble a bookcase, with every level of the garage containing a different set of books -- and a stairwell morphed into a stack of oversized books like "Treasure Island" and "The Catcher in the Rye." Click here, here, here, here and here to view creative.
The agency got permission to place books in the grocery stores by simply asking and explaining the mission. Stores even pointed out areas with extra shelf space where books could be placed.
The most popular, and least expensive, component turned out to be the mini books placed in restaurants and bars. Mini post-its were wrapped in mini book jackets and cost roughly 20 cents apiece, Childress said.
The campaign collected 80,000 books and $115,000 in sales. Sales numbers were down $1,000 from last year and book donations decreased from 94,000 last year to 80,000 this year. Childress said that while the number of donations decreased, "the quality of the books greatly improved over years past. This year, we seemed to be getting more people to donate from their own personal book stashes. We tapped into a target that was willing to part with better quality, more current and better condition books that could be sold for a higher price," he said.