As the housing market slouches further into its slump, real estate developers are the latest group to recite the experiential marketing mantra. No longer content with cheapo enticements such as street side sign twirlers and customary coffee & crumb cake at open houses, they are getting up close and personal to turn shoppers into peeping toms and prospective purchasers.
“Not a lot of people qualify [for loans] anymore, so they’ve been throwing in extra stuff such as cars, vacations, gas cards and appliances to get people to buy,” said Peterson Gonzaga, a real estate agent at Goldland Pro Realty.
But first, they’ve got to get them to look.
To publicize a mixed-use shopping/living center opening next year in Glendale, Calif., Caruso Affiliated is offering sneak peeks to shoppers at another retail complex, The Grove in Los Angeles. There, the “Windows on Americana” cyclorama mural simulates the view from a second-floor terrace apartment overlooking a vast courtyard and neighboring units. The exhibit is embedded with flat-screen monitors that pose as condo windows, so voyeurs can peep at one-minute video loops of “residents” of the Americana at Brand complex as they enjoy the comforts of home, such as valet parking, concierge services, food delivery and a gym with personal trainers. The “Brand” in the title refers to Glendale’s Brand Boulevard.
While the Thanksgiving holiday traditionally marks the end of the real estate season, The Athena Group piggybacked the rampant retail madness of Black Friday (as well as Saturday) to market what it dubbed “the ultimate impulse purchase”: a new flat at The Rob Clark. While the name is actually an amalgam of the two chi-chi streets where the Beverly Hills complex resides, “Rob Clark” has been envisioned as a playboy personality who inhabits the haunts. In the stunt, Athena sent four bathrobed babes (two guys, two gals) down Robertson—home of The Ivy, Kitson and other hot spots on the Lohan-Hilton circuit—during the busy shopping days to pass out cocktail napkin come-ons luring people back to the 105-unit complex for a drink and a looksee at “Rob’s” personal pad. The Black Friday stunt generated about 50 leads, two of which went to contract, per sales and marketing director Harry Dubin.