Archive for the 'Marketing Gone Awry' Category


White noise: uniform, steady, drone

Make some noise: To attract attention. To do something noticeable.

We follow the Multi-housing News blog where senior editor Jessica Fiur recently commented on the dangers of apartment marketing becoming the kind of white noise that renters overlook and tune out when community managers post repetitive content in their ads. We couldn’t agree more. Are you using the same text in your ads? The same property photos? The same designs? You need to mix it up since repetitive content blends into the background like white noise, but fresh content knows how to make some noise.

Recently on Craigslist, we saw the word “beautiful” used 8 times in several apartment ad subject lines to try and capture renters’ attention. The ones that stood out among the “beautiful” white noise used less common descriptors: delightful, adorable, unique.

Beautiful 3 Bedroom Townhome with Attached Nursery $1999/3br

Beautiful Apartment Close to shopping $885/2br

Beautiful views, 1 bedroom apartment in heart of Tacoma

Beautiful 2 Bedroom 2.5 bath in Puyallup

Beautiful 1 Bedroom October move-in W/D $954/1br

Again, to stand out among the stale ads on Craigslist, MIX IT UP.  If your apartment community has 12 worthy amenities, create 4 different ads focusing on 3 different amenities at a time to post on Craigslist, interchanging them throughout the weeks to gauge each one’s success.

Speaking of using campaigns to showcase your amenities:

a.  Beyond Wine & Cheese’s library of ready-to-go apartment marketing campaigns make it easy for you to grab several different ads and quickly customize with your information.

b.  We have themes about washer & dryers, covered parking, swimming pools, storage and a variety of amenities. Examples are illustrated below.

c.  Our software allows you to quickly and easily paste a professionally designed ad that you’ve customized with your details on Craigslist and measure its “hits” and “clicks.”



And our last suggestion to stand out (in a good way) on Craigslist – proofread for typos so that when you look back at your apartment marketing, you don’t have any regrets like a poorly spelled tattoo. Live a life of no regrets!



Attention Kmart Shoppers: I Just Shipped My Pants!

By now you’ve probably seen the controversial Kmart commercial showcasing their shipping services. The company injected humorous wordplay into the ad whereby actors performing as Kmart shoppers say they shipped items in such a manner that it actually sounds like they did the unthinkable:
Standing in the store, a customer says, “I just shipped my pants!”
Another claims, “I just shipped my drawers.”
“I just shipped my nightie.”
And my favorite, “I just shipped my bed!”

The commercial went viral, getting 17 million hits on Youtube, which is every marketing team’s dream. But it also got bombarded with a lot of criticism due to its crass nature. Watch the “Shipped My Pants” commercial on Youtube and decide for yourself.

Really? I can ship my pants, right here, right now?

Really? I can ship my pants, right here, right now?

I’m not a Kmart shopper and have never noticed their marketing besides past obvious catchy slogans like “blue light special,” but the shipping commercial is one where I’ll stop, watch, laugh and remember and talk about it to others instead of fast forwarding through it on my DVR. It doesn’t make me want to shop there any more than I did before, but it has everyone talking about it, which is half the battle. And a good laugh never hurt anybody.

Kmart followed up the shipping campaign with a similar one: Big Gas Savings. Say that phrase fast over and over and it sounds like something else:
A woman in the ad says, “Sounds like you could use some big gas savings”
“Thirty cents a gallon, that’s a big gas discount,” says another.
A kid proclaims, “Dad, look at that big gas truck!”

Watch the big gas video here.

Kmart says, “Creativity is important in Kmart’s advertising to engage our members and share new information on promotions and initiatives. We believe that humor is a natural part of the strategy.”

What do you think – brilliant advertising or clean up on aisle 9 with marketing gone awry? What are some ways that community managers can include creativity and humor in apartment marketing? Can you think of any apartment advertising that was so funny you had to share or that it was so bold it crossed the line? Let us know in our comments section below.

Witness The World’s Most Bedazzled Toilet

This summer I’m embarking on a project to remodel my bathroom. Although functional, there is a 1970’s vibe that leaves me feeling less than proud to show off this space. I’m fairly certain the drab aesthetics contribute to my dread of climbing out of bed every morning to start the daily shower routine.

The bath project starts with one goal: Fit an antique claw-foot tub within the 8′ x 8′ square room. I want the unexpected “Wow!” when someone slides open the pocket door and finds a stunning white porcelain beauty. Let’s face it, there are only so many things you can do with a sink, toilet and tub. And, unless it’s gilded in gold, the proverbial throne is not a stunning architectural structure. Sure, I want to feel like a princess while soaking in my new tub but eventual resale value is the real motivation for bedazzling the bathroom. After all, what else is there in this room that can produce an enticing real-estate photo that sets your bathroom above the standard, luring prospects to make a purchase or sign a lease?

Swarovski Toilet

You put crystals where?

Have you noticed how many apartment bathrooms show up in brochures and get a featured spot in Craigslist online ads? At Beyond Wine & Cheese Marketing, we’ve never seen a photo of a bathroom that elicits a “Wow!” while flipping through housing for rent ads.  Actually, most apartment bathroom photos make us wonder why the standard oak cabinet and a colorful shower curtain are the best features you want to show a prospect. Yep, that’s a toilet. If it’s not bedazzled or gilded in gold is it your best foot forward in a photo gallery?

Show us your gilded toilet at No More Homemade Flyers.

Classy Is To Dirty, As Elegant Is To… Peeling Paint?

Growing up, I had an Adidas jacket that I never wanted to take off.  And living in the Seattle area, there weren’t many months in the year that I couldn’t wear this heavy coat.  Unfortunately, when I was in fourth grade our class pet, a hamster who will remain nameless, got hungry while I was holding him and took a bite out of the sleeve of my jacket.

Considering the size of a hamster’s mouth, the hole wasn’t initially very big, but being a fidgety fourth grader who couldn’t just leave the hole alone, it quickly grew.  The hole didn’t bother me, but eventually my mother couldn’t handle me looking like a little ragamuffin girl anymore and made me get a new coat.  Traumatizing, right?  (Although these days I don’t think I would complain if someone wanted to buy me new clothes.)

As a child, it’s understandable that I didn’t care – but of course my mom didn’t want people thinking I wasn’t being taken care of properly.  However, nowadays I care a little bit more about what people think of me.  For my job I usually speak to people over the phone before I meet them in person, and I (like to think that I) present myself verbally in a very professional manner, so of course when I eventually meet people I want my appearance to match the impression I’ve given.

It’s all about not sending mixed messages – walking the talk.  And that lesson should apply to all aspects of life, no?  Well, then I’ll let you make this connection all on your own:

Why, yes, the words “classy” and “elegant” always come to mind when I see dirt and peeling paint!

My only hope in this case is that the words speak louder than the appearance of this sign.  And that the apartment building doesn’t match.

Does your apartment marketing need a bath?  Beyond Wine & Cheese Marketing has the soap.  Share with us at!

On to the Next One

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: resident retention is one of the most important aspects of apartment marketing.  But some of the retention ideas I’ve seen floating around out there suck need some fine tuning.  For example:

  • Attach renewal letters to a balloon.

Followed closely by…

  • Attach renewal letters to a Mylar balloon.

WHAT???  I can attach a renewal letter to a non-Mylar OR a Mylar balloon?!  And if your mind isn’t already blown, wait ‘til you find out that either kind of balloon can be attached to the doorknob in case the resident isn’t home.  If that doesn’t work for you:

  • Attach renewal letters to a 100 Calorie Pack with a clever phrase about residents “desserting” you.

Oh, come on people!  I know that there’s an obesity epidemic in America, but you couldn’t spring for some Ho Hos or Little Debbies?  I’m a woman – I read into things, and I would get a very different message from the 100 Calorie Pack than you are intending.  Moving on:

  • Party: A theme party; example – a murder mystery dinner – have the papers ready for them to sign.

You could even take it a step further and just make those who don’t sign the papers the victims of your murder “mystery”.  Done.  It’s all about the hard sell.  But if you’re concerned that blood stains will scare away new prospects, try a more lighthearted approach:

  • Attach renewal letters to a Whoopee Cushion and incorporate the expression “Whoopee!!”.

Your 8 year old male residents (or maybe those with the maturity of an 8 year old), will be sure to renew their leases on the spot.  Huh?  You don’t have 8 year olds renting apartments?  Well that’s strange…

  • Inflatable Monkeys: Attach a sticker or card that says ‘Don’t monkey around! We want you to stay!’

Just what I need.  More crap lying around my apartment.  How about offering me an extra closet for storage?  But if you combined this idea with a Mylar balloon (cannot be non-Mylar)…

Consider. It. Renewed.

Or there’s always the option of not having a crap apartment with crap customer service that turns residents off.  But that doesn’t include a fun trip to the dollar store, now does it?

Is a monkey trying to get you to renew your lease?  Share with us at!

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