Advertising projects during busts

<span style="font-style: italic;">A photo essay of real estate ads compares good times with bad</span>

alternate textFrom left: A 2008 advertisement for 100 West 18th Street; a provocative ad uses suggestive language for Herald Towers in 2005; a cartoon silhouette used in a pre-2008 William Beaver House campaign.

So-called “recession specials” continue to dominate advertisements. And as in previous bust periods, today’s real estate ads sell value, not luxury, to entice budget-conscious consumers.

“Now, it’s almost taboo to talk about living the high life; having an ostentatious lifestyle is not advertised like during a boom period. Instead, your home is looked at as a smart investment,” said Scott Aaron, a principal at Benchmark Real Estate Partners.

Even the Upper West Side’s Apthorp, where elegance and luxury were key marketing points a few years ago, is now plugging its slashed prices and “once in a lifetime” opportunities for bottom-fishing homebuyers.

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“When the market is tighter, there are less spoil-yourself type of messages and people are focused on value and product,” said Ron Nelson, creative director at Sherman Advertising Associates, the firm that markets the Apthorp and other big-name developments.

Corcoran took the current no-frills method of advertising to a new level in its spring 2009 company ad campaign, which includes materials featuring stark white lettering on a black background with the tagline: “Homes that will take your breath away. Prices that will resuscitate you.”
The collection of ads shown here illustrates the change in advertising over the last several years. The first group of ads are from the boom times, trying to use sex and high-end lifestyle to sell units, and the last bunch are from the bust period, emphasizing value.

An expanded version of this story originally ran on The Real Deal’s daily blog

alternate textFrom left: Today’s advertisement for the Apthorp offers slashed prices, marking an opportunity of a lifetime; value advertised in the Corcoran Group’s spring 2009 marketing campaign; today’s simple Halstead Property ad sells “value.”