Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Selling Property Creatively

The other day I happened to see an advertisement for a property, it was featured on the jacket of The Times of India, Mumbai edition. It prominently showed a pizza delivery scooter, the box fitted on the scooter had “Express Packers and Movers” written on it, the ad continued overleaf. The advertiser was Nirmal Lifestyle; the ad was for, as they call it, “India’s First Fully Furnished Designer Homes”. The idea of showing a pizza delivery scooter was to convey that you need to carry very little with you when you shift to the new homes that Nirmal was providing. The ad was truly attention grabbing thanks to the high standard of creativity.

Advertising for real estate has surely come a long way. In the good old days developers did not need to advertise their properties, they only had to rely on word-of-mouth and network of brokers. There was practically no effort on the developers’ side to sell as they do now because homes were always in heavy demand; there was virtually no competition. Way back in the mid 1980s I happened to see an audio-visual presentation for a new housing complex in suburban Bombay, the target audience being Indians working in the Gulf countries. That was the first time I saw serious efforts being made to actually sell flats; competition had set in this sector.

When advertising for properties first began it was a simple affair, all that the ad featured was an architect’s illustration of the building and the copy listing out the amenities and other relevant details, such simple ads are still very common today but one also sees a steady increase in property ads which are high on creativity. Most advertising is still mainly in the press, though we do sometimes see ads on TV as well these days. Competition has changed the rules of the game; properties today come with several features and amenities which need to be communicated. Property has also become very expensive and developers, in their ads, do need to tell buyers that they offer value for money, hence the spurt in creativity.

Apart from the Nirmal Lifestyle two other property ads have also recently caught my attention; they are World One by Lodha Builders and Imperial Heights by The Wadhwa Group. World One is proposed to be world’s tallest residential tower to be located at Lower Parel in central Mumbai; the advertisers however choose to call the place ‘Upper Worli’. For some reason the name Lower Parel seems to lower the prestige of some of the business houses located there (I wonder why they suffer from a complex), therefore the name ‘Upper Worli’ was coined. The ad was on the jacket of The Times of India as well as overleaf and had an unusual design with the black dominating the layout. The Imperial Heights ad was actually received as a newspaper insert; the wine glass that you see makes for a very interesting visual, this creative has also been adapted for outdoor advertising.

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