It’s a new morning at AvalonBay Communities. Faced with a challenging New York high-rise lease-up and marketing initiative, the Alexandria, Va.-based REIT departed from its standard brand-driven PR tactic in favor of a bold, yet minimalist marketing campaign for Avalon Morningside Park in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights neighborhood. The resulting “It’s a New Morning” campaign—targeted to affluent Big Apple renters—centered on evoking emotion via a media strategy focused on outdoor, subway, and Internet outlets—and heavy use of the color orange.
“There was an opportunity to communicate to a slightly different demographic, but even beyond that, the urban high-rise campaign is somewhat out-of-the-box,” says AvalonBay vice president of marketing Kevin Thompson. “We’re now starting to individualize the marketing for all of our urban high-rises.”
Property: Avalon Morningside Park
Location: New York
Company: AvalonBay Communites
Agency of Record: Primary Design
Opened: June 2008
No. of Units: 296
Unit Mix: One-, two-, and threebedroom apartments
Prices: $2,195 to $5,695 per month
The campaign launched with a teaser ad in the New York Times and was followed with additional print and Internet ads in The Village Voice, Time Out New York, and Observer.com. The campaign culminated with a subway marketing blitz, which saw 50 subway platform posters on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and 1,500 in-subway posters, including a buyout of all poster opportunities at the 50th Street and Sixth Avenue stations. Additional promotional collateral included customized orange juice glasses and orange athletic T-shirts with, “I’m a morning person” emblazoned across the chest.
Lease-up of the community was completed in 12 months. “The location, marketing, building, and on-site customer service all combine in a good lease-up,” Thompson says. “But the campaign itself was the mouthpiece.”