Socialism, Class Warfare Spoofed in Jokey Ad for $3M Moorestown Home

A real estate agent and an ad guru have teamed up to sell a luxurious Moorestown mansion using a viral marketing strategy.

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.

Marci Foster June 28, 2012 at 02:24 PM
What an interesting, innovative idea!
Jay Winkler June 28, 2012 at 02:40 PM
As an advertising professional, it's refreshing to see a different approach to marketing real estate here in the 'burbs.
Marcianne Waters June 28, 2012 at 02:54 PM
I love this ad! What a great idea. Creative, innovative, gutsy. Kudos to Naoji and the homeowner for a very refreshing idea and some chuckles. Keep up the great work, Naoji and my beloved Edgar Realty.
Marcianne Waters June 28, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Jonie M. June 28, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Seriously, I'd pay at least $1M if that wine cellar came fully stocked! Nice ad, get's your attention!
Joe Glennon June 28, 2012 at 03:08 PM
With such a small pool of potential buyers, a down market and a location that is somewhat out of the way and secluded (by design), selling this house is a challenge that requires something unexpected. There's no way this ad was meant as sharp social commentary, breakthrough advertising or the only tactic taken. What it is is a fun way to attract eyeballs, start a conversation and court serendipity. In an age when the right hashtag can spark a nationwide trend, the normal conventions of doing business are loosened and cat videos rule the internet, I say "Vive la difference!" To those who don't like it...#letthemeatcake.
Marcianne Waters June 28, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Right on, Joe Glennon! Un travail excellent ( I just looked up 'great job translation into French' and that's what i got). I'm loving all the French quips.
Right Wing June 28, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Well said Linda!!!!!! Maybe the author can explain his backhanded slap to Fox and his defense of the President. I am sure his conservative readership, or what is left of it, would love to know. I find it interesting in an article about creative marketing that Patch opted to take the opportunity to express its political view, one that is contrary to its customers in this town.
Richard Cardona June 28, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Nowadays, anything that gets more than 5 minutes of someone's attention is a breakthrough. I'm texting this while driving backwards on the Turnpike because I just missed my exit. And breaking out of the humdrum mode of advertising-as-usual in the real estate market, quite honestly, isn't that big of a challenge. But deciding to go with an idea like this, certainly takes courage. Kudos to Naoji for belief in the power of creative thinking.
Christian DelGozzo June 28, 2012 at 04:23 PM
This article had me talking about the property. Hence it worked. Cheers to Naoji and BT Edgar for going above and beyond and thinking outside the box.
Former Jersey Girl June 28, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I agree with Linda....stick with reporting the news, and forget about bashing Fox News. Why does every media outlet feel they should do that? (BTW....we older folks all recognize a socialist/communist when we see one, and Obama is that.)
JustWondering June 28, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Right there with ya, Linda. See ya!
Nick Zegel June 28, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Its funny to me that a real estate listing has stirred up such a conversation! Cheers to the agent and Hypno for trying something new! I'm interested in seeing the follow up ads as this one was a bit confusing after a mentally exhausting day of work... If only I had a cool $3M for this house so I could relax without a worry in that fantastic pool!
John K June 28, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Getting a little touchy and over-sensitive, aren't you? I think Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and the rest of Rupert Murdoch's Fox News team can handle the satirical barb!
Nick Zegel June 28, 2012 at 05:03 PM
I agree the comment was a bit snarky...however I do think its important to clarify the definition of socialist as its often misunderstood! The mention of Fox wasn't necessary...
Rob Scott (Editor) June 28, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Linda, Right Wing, et al Allow me to clarify my admittedly sarcastic comment. The tone of the article—like the ad it's about—is meant to be somewhat jokey. It was not intended as a meaningful critique on Fox News or the president or anyone who supports either, and to take it as such is a bit of an overreaction, in my view. In fairness, Fox News has on multiple occasions criticized the president for having socialist leanings (which again, in my view, is not accurate, but that's besides the point). I was simply making an attempt at humor.
CafeRacer June 28, 2012 at 08:13 PM
I never thought I could be amused by a shoddily built, overpriced, NJ mc-mansion on steroids, but this campaign succeeded! Now what do we do for the Greeks? Maybe a campaign to move them into cardboard boxes in Camden?
Joe Brevoort June 28, 2012 at 08:43 PM
I thought the ad campaign was well played - personally I can't remember the last time a real estate listing got much attention nor started such a heated debate (except maybe Dick Clark's Flintstone's inspired hideaway but that's a whole other bunch of bananas) . I think Hypno hit the bullseye with this one. The ad was funny, smart and slightly edgy - I loved it.
Pete June 28, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Rob "...the president for having socialist leanings (which again, in my view, is not accurate,... " You are correct, that guy doesn't lean - he IS a socialist !
Townie June 28, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Rob...I would agree the reaction is a bit too sharp, but you made it clear to me previously you were a news outlet, not a blog (where opinions, links, etc.) appear. I appreciate you were following the story context, but if you're reporting fact based news, the humor of the story should speak for itself.
Naoji Moriuchi June 28, 2012 at 11:06 PM
I appreciate all the feedback. As you can tell more positive than negative. However, there is a perception floating out there about the two previous Realtors. Both are excellent Realtors. Top in this area. I never indicated to the Patch that my client "dumped" the other Realtors rather I indicated they worked very hard to sell it, but the traditional methods of advertising and marketing just didn't do it so something different needed to be done. Thanks again for the feedback and I hope you pass this awesome home onto that one buyer. I know they are out there!
Joe M. June 29, 2012 at 12:41 AM
I'm with you Linda. I'm done with patch and the childish barbs.
Mike Rogers June 29, 2012 at 01:50 AM
You lost me after your snarky Fox News comment. Stick with the news. Ditch the commentary.
Michael Ricigliano June 29, 2012 at 03:37 AM
I came for the Socialism, but stayed for the funny!
Greg June 29, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Hey, in this market you've got to try anything and everything to help sell a house. Since there's such a small pool of buyers for a place that costs so much, you've got to just draw attention to the listing, and that's what this "ad" has done. Kudos for thinking outside of the box.
Patrick K. June 29, 2012 at 03:33 PM
The ad's cute. A clever solution to a difficult challenge.
Stacey Garrison June 29, 2012 at 05:48 PM
I think the ad is great!! Very creative and innovative! People need to relax and not take this so seriously. Good for HYPNO and the realtor for finding their way out of the box and getting some attention for this house...can't wait to see the next ad!!!!
mommyvalor July 01, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Ha! You're so right about those houses!
John July 01, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Rob Scott, political humor with a decidedly partisan slant, has no place in a news article. You said in your response to Linda that the comment "was not intended as a meaningful critique on Fox News or the president or anyone who supports either." Yet merely 2 sentence later you said, "... Fox News has on multiple occasions criticized the president for having socialist leanings (which again, in my view, is not accurate, but that's besides the point)." Which WAS a critique of both. Even if you had referenced MSNBC, the reaction would remain the same. You are NOT a political commentator, columnist, or humorist. Leave the left-leaning jabs and questionable reporting to the Patch's sister site, the Huffington Post.
life time resident July 02, 2012 at 05:10 PM
I am surprised to see that more people haven't take offense Rob using the Patch to as a forum for his own views. Accurate and unbiased reporting...I think not.


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