Free maid or free chef. Which would you choose?

14 Oct

When our client Len Wansbrough asked us for help last month selling new homes in his Artisan Park development in Duncan, we decided to go a bit unconventional.

With so many new homes on the market and no really compelling differentiator, we opted to take the development’s ongoing selling proposition – carefree living – a step further.

We recommended Len pull some significant money out of his advertising budget to pay for a promotion that gives every new buyer the choice of two months of either free maid service or a free gourmet chef.

We reasoned that people like to play the which-would-I-choose game, even if they’re not potential buyers. We’re counting on some buzz.

To add some visual wallop, we pitted the maid and chef against each other in a boxing match and staged it in front of a new Artisan Park home.

The campaign launches this week with a bang: we’ve limited the paid media to huge consecutive billboards when you drive into town (the one-two punch), print in the local paper, geo-targeted Facebook ads and some radio spots:

We’re augmenting the paid media with some owned media, including changes to the website, and some neat on-site ideas, many Len came up with himself, including sending boxing tickets to all the real estate agents in Duncan to invite them to a preview, and hanging boxing gloves on the door of every home.

It’s fantastic when a client gets so into the idea he emails you on the weekend with fun suggestions for pushing it further.


9 Responses to “Free maid or free chef. Which would you choose?”

  1. kevinthegarden October 14, 2010 at 4:02 pm #

    Me? Free maid… I love to cook. No One goes in my kitchen… Or for that matter, my landscape… Yeah, I’ll take the maid..LOL

  2. Lindsey Maloney October 14, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    I once started a smaller fire making mac and cheese. For me, it’s a no-brainer.

  3. Reg October 14, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

    Love it. Congrats to you and the Copeland crew on this clever, fun and — yes — differentiated approach. I agree with the strategy in that, given there were no key differentiators, and the market is indeed crowded with inventory (and real estate sales are sluggish, with all we’re experiencing economically), this is a fun, engaging and (for the lucky buyers) rewarding. I think (and hope for you and Mr. Wansbrough) this could generate some significant buzz — it may just attract more potential buyers to at least have a look, kick the tires, and if that nets even 1 or 2 incremental buyers that might not have happened without this effort, success will be yours.

    Two thoughts/comments:
    1) It’d be great to somehow track the “how’d you hear about us?” material with specifics around this particular campaign. It’d really help confirm (or, if not successful, refute) the idea as not just a gimmick, but a winner, potentially even allow for some degree of measureable ROI. Most real estate developments usually include these sorts of questions in their “guest registration” cards/online forms, but this initiative might require a bit of clever work to ensure the campaign is identifiable as a reason people were attracted to come in and look.
    2) While I’m really hopeful this works, I think the biggest challenge is not the concept or execution, but whether potential buyers see enough value in this “offer”/”bonus”, given the hefty investment a home purchase involves. Again, I think the main point is to get out ahead (and further afield) of the competition, so that may be enough to attract more people — will it be enough to close some sales? Fingers crossed.

    Good luck, and congrats,


  4. dougbrowncreative October 14, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    > I’m going with the chef Kevin. No one goes in my bathroom!! 🙂 (Zombie = dead body parts everywhere)

    > I think I’m married to someone like you Lindsey! She went for the chef too.

    > Reg, I can’t go into the details of the payment arrangement with our client, but suffice it to say we see the same opportunities. On your second point, ultimately we are leading the horse to water, as you pointed out. It’s up to the product, and the salespeople, to convert these leads. Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. Amy October 18, 2010 at 6:03 am #

    While I would love to have a personal chef, I really need the maid. I’m a slacker. I dust around things and don’t vaccum under the rug.

  6. dougbrowncreative October 18, 2010 at 6:35 am #

    Amy, maybe you’re spending too much time replying to comments on your blog?

  7. Amy October 18, 2010 at 10:40 am #

    Ha! That would be a great excuse for this past weekend, but doesn’t explain my lack of housekeeping for the previous (far to many to count) years.

  8. Ciara October 22, 2010 at 5:24 am #

    Awesome idea. It’s great to hear that a client who has spent a lot of time and money developing a certain product can have a campaign created that he is equally excited about and involved in. Nice work at shaking up the traditional agency model using owned and paid media – Tim would be proud!

    And for the record, I would choose the maid to help me clean that big, beautiful, brand new house of mine!

  9. dougbrowncreative October 22, 2010 at 6:06 am #

    Hey Ciara, thanks for the comps. Len, our client, put on quite a show at the opening this week. When you’ve done this as long as he has, it was probably refreshing to be able to have a new approach. Our fingers are crossed on the sales now, but we are monitoring and will make adjustments as the campaign moves along. So you’re buying one of his homes??

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