Whether or not you can afford this home (you probably can’t), you’ll be talking about it. And that’s the point.
When real estate agent Naoji Moriuchi made his marketing pitch to a Moorestown technology entrepreneur trying to sell his $3.1 million mansion—after the homeowner had hired and dumped two other realty agencies—he quickly realized he wasn’t making much of an impression.
“I said, ‘Have I said anything different than (the other agents) said?’ He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘I know,’” recalled Moriuchi. “You’re really saying very similar things. There is no unique marketing (in the realty industry).”
So Moriuchi turned to the experts, employing Moorestown’s to create a unique marketing strategy for the home at 2 Cobblestone Court. Moriuchi didn’t have specifics—he left that to Hypno co-owner and creative director Richard Cardona—but he wanted to take advantage of social media in the hope that the ad would go viral on the web.
Following some brainstorming, Cardona pitched an idea (tongue firmly in cheek): A Craiglist ad featuring a luxury French-style home nestled in a in Moorestown serving as an economic asylum from newly Socialist France.
(Background: France just elected a new president; he’s a Socialist—an actual one. Not an alleged one, like Fox News claims our president is.)
Invoking socialism and the 1 percent in the hopes of selling a $3 million villa might not seem like a sound strategy, but the idea is to get people’s attention, get them talking.
“It’s kind of a classic Realtor’s problem. How do you distinguish yourself from the other ads out there? … Everybody has the same bag of tricks, right?” said Cardona. “It’s just kind of outlandish. It kind of makes you do a double take.”
You might also think a $3 million mansion wouldn’t need any extra attention to sell itself, but you’d be wrong, Moriuchi said. “It’s a tough environment. There’s a lot of competition for not many buyers. A house in this price point sells maybe every year, or every other year. You have to figure out how to get in front of that one buyer. It’s literally one buyer.”
The key is to get it to go viral, Cardona said, though that’s not an exact science.
“You can’t make anything go viral,” he said. “You can make something that’s good enough to spread virally.”
As of Wednesday afternoon—24 hours after it hit the web—Cardona said the Craigslist ad for 2 Cobblestone Court had gotten 500 impressions (a measure of the number of times an ad is displayed online) and 50 Facebook “recommends”.
Some people may miss the joke, or take it the wrong way, Cardona and Moriuchi acknowledged. But they’re willing to accept that. Their eye is on the bigger picture.
“If you’re going to do it, you’ve got to go big, or don’t do it at all,” said Moriuchi. “Some people might not like the idea. Some people might (take it the wrong way), and if they do, I’ll live with those ramifications. Quite frankly, if they do, it would probably be passed along even more.”
Cardona has two more satirical ads set to roll out in the next several weeks for the home. The next one will riff on sports stars and their egos, he said, while the third is as yet undetermined, though he’s working on an idea.
“They’re all fun,” Moriuchi said. “We had a fun time doing it.”
To view the ad on Craigslist, click here. To check out more pictures of the home and take a virtual tour, go here.
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