Branding Brooklyn Architecture with #TheDoorsofBrooklyn Photo Challenge

Joseph Lee Sweeney is a name few Brooklynites will recognize, and yet he left us with a remarkable legacy. A Park Slope resident, successful architect and gifted photographer, Sweeney scoured Brooklyn on foot, documenting hundreds of the borough’s gorgeous doorways. In 2004, he picked 30 of his favorite photographs to create an iconic poster called “The Doors of Brooklyn.”



I learned about Sweeney on September 20th while researching a social media campaign I was creating for Brownstoner‘s Instagram. The idea was simple, come up with a photo challenge that would engage the brand’s community of architecture enthusiasts while also tapping into Brooklyn’s emerging creative; ultimately attracting a new (younger) audience without alienating its core readership. After a few minutes of googling “brooklyn doors” I learned about Joseph Sweeney and his project. With the first anniversary of his passing being a shy two days away I immediately drafted a comprehensive strategy that would launch on the milestone date. For added incentive the challenge would close on October 24th, Sweeney’s birthday, with a second homage to his work; a new poster featuring 30 of the best submitted posts.

The campaign met all of the necessary requirements for being successful online: it was authentic to the Brownstoner brand, it created a storied conversation, it demanded very little effort from users and it had the potential to go viral.

I created the below assets as part of the strategy:

1. A post on the Brownstoner website with information on Sweeney and instructions on how to join the photo challenge

2. Branded visuals and language for social media channels


3. Ongoing newsletter blast and social media advertisement

4. Follow ups recapping user submissions

5. Social media strategies for potential campaign sponsors

6. Targeted outreach to Brooklyn influencers with call to action

Below are some of my favorite posts thus far:


I’d love to see your contributions! To join the challenge snap a pic of your favorite door, caption it with #thedoorsofbrooklyn and tag @brownstoner on Instagram. Don’t have Instagram? No problem. You can email your picture to maude [at] brownstoner [dot] com.

Submission guidelines can be found here.

Hope to see your posts!

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