Two Trees forges ahead with #SponCon to rent out new development apartments

The landlord is paying a fashion blogger to post Instagram pics of its Fort Greene rental building

TRD New York /
Mar.March 17, 2017 12:15 PM

300 Ashland

In the city’s crowded rental market, having a celebrity put in a good word can make a world of difference.

That’s what Two Trees Management is hoping, at least. The company has formed what it is calling a “partnership” with fashion blogger and actress Tavi Gevinson, New York Magazine’s the Cut reported. Gevinson — the founder of style blog “Rookie” — recently moved into Two Trees’ 300 Ashland, a 35-story building competing with a sea of other new development luxury rentals around Fort Greene. Earlier this week, she posted a picture to her 539,000 Instagram followers, with “#300AshlandPartner” in the caption.

Two Trees, headed by Jed Walentas TRData LogoTINY, confirmed to the Cut that Gevinson is living in the building full time and paying rent — but is also being “compensated” for the posts. The terms of the deal were not made clear. There are currently 10 active rentals at the building, asking an average of $4,087, according to StreetEasy. Two Trees is giving away two free months of rent as well as waiving broker fees to spur rentals at the building.

The arrangement with Gevinson raises some legal questions. According to Jezebel, the Federal Trade Commission is now closely monitoring what’s known as #sponcon — short for sponsored content. The Gevinson-Two Trees arrangement could test the FTC endorsement guidelines.

“If Ms. Gevinson is being compensated in any way for her promotion of the Two Trees property, then her social media posts are effectively ads and she is required by law to clearly and conspicuously disclose any material connection she has to the company in all of her posts,” Truth in Advertising’s legal director, Laura Smith, told Jezebel.

The firm certainly isn’t the first to use social media to hype an apartment. Last year, Airbnb rented out a triplex at 471 Washington Street to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West for free — taking a simple “thank you” Instagram post from Kim as payment.

“We think it’s an exciting addition to our marketing efforts and a terrific amenity for tenants,” a Two Trees spokesperson told the Cut earlier this week. “Stay tuned for more great names and content.”

Brooklyn has an abundance of luxury rental product at the moment, and saw widespread declines in asking rents last month. [Jezebel] and [NYMag] Miriam Hall

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