SOME PEOPLE NEVER GOT IT, BUT THAT WASN'T REALLY THE point of the month-long online video promotion for R+D659, a new 17-story condo project in Chicago. Whether or not everyone understood the relationship between the fictional Artie, frozen for 99 years in his butcher's freezer only to emerge in a revitalized West Loop, and the myriad features of the 237-unit high-rise in that neighborhood, quite a crowd followed his five-part adventure series on the project's Web site, via e-mail, onto open share sites such as Viral Videos and YouTube ... and into the sales office, where the developer secured 21 contracts during the campaign.
“The ‘Adventures of Artie' was an entertaining way to convey R+D659's energy and brand,” says Gavin Stein, vice president for developer Mesirow Financial Real Estate. “We were willing to take risks with the campaign to truly differentiate the project.” The videos also made it easy for young professional buyers to pass around the Artie spots among their computers, handheld devices, and Web sites. Stein started the ball rolling with a list of 250,000 qualified e-mail accounts to receive a link to the project's Web site and a teaser of the first video.
The timing also kick-started the traditional home buying season and was supplemented by sponsored events to further spread the word. Artie himself made a live appearance at a public event launching the last spot, which alone netted five sales.
CAMPAIGN DETAILS Program: The Adventures of Artie (Web-based video series); Developer: Mesirow Financial Real Estate, Chicago; Builder: DAGS Desplaines, Chicago; Architect: Brininstool + Lynch, Chicago; Contractor: @properties, Chicago; Cost: $75,000; Advertising agency: Taylor Johnson Associates, Chicago
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Chicago, IL.