The Scholastic Book Fair is one of the most beloved and anticipated events of every school year. It’s a time when magical, lifelong connections are made—from kids relating to the characters on the page to fans of all ages bonding over shared favorites—a time to be transformed from ordinary student to avid, enthusiastic reader. It’s not just a fair, it’s an experience…one that’s not to be missed.
And yet, like so many things, this special event was threatened with cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, our Book Fair Chairs, schools, and communities are just as passionate and dedicated to maintaining a sense of normalcy as the Scholastic Book Fairs team, and as ever, we collaborated closely to make it the best fair possible, even under the most challenging and unexpected of circumstances.
Acting swiftly and creatively, Scholastic Book Fairs reimagined the possibilities of a safe, in-person event. This included updating fair options to accommodate for different learning settings, implementing strict safety protocols, and working in tandem with each school to ensure their individual needs were met. As these were unprecedented times, feedback mattered—especially positive, uplifting stories that demonstrated Scholastic Book Fairs could be a beacon of joy and hope when we all needed it most. For this reason, our team strongly encouraged schools to share their fair “Success Stories” with us in both words and images; these were used as the basis of a campaign to further support bookings of in-person fair options.
Intended as a springboard for inspiration and participation, the campaign primarily relied on user-generated content to inform our customers that schools just like theirs were hosting fairs safely and creatively. We collected Success Stories through direct customer interactions, post-fair feedback forms, and social media monitoring. The call-to-action throughout the campaign was to contact us to book your fair.
ORGANIC SOCIAL: We introduced a “Friday Fair Share” series, highlighting a fair success story every Friday and encouraging our active customers to participate using the hashtag #FairShare.
EMAIL: We targeted success stories by region so customers who didn’t have a 2021 fair booked could observe how other schools in their area were hosting a fair, demonstrating that while the world was down, we weren’t out—and should still very much be on their radar.
PAID SOCIAL: Similar to above, success stories were targeted by region so that customers who did not have a spring 2021 fair booked were served with ads tailored directly to them, encouraging them to take immediate action.
Despite school closures across the country, the in-person fair experience was something tens of thousands of schools did not give up on during the spring of 2021. Even better, they got creative—probably more so thanks to the inspiration served through our Success Stories campaign. Schools held fairs as drive-thrus, in parking-lots, hallways, and with no parent volunteers. Students felt the magic and experienced the BookJoy, and with every purchase directly supporting the school, much-needed funds were raised.
In 2021, we reached 299,550 users through earned media and email open rates reaching 26%.
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