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 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.

During lease-up, Avalon Morningside Park received 12,000 clicks to its Web site and 2,400 phone calls per month, with a total response of 40 percent from outdoor ads, 53 percent from the Internet, and 7 percent from print. Conversion of prospects-to-leases rose by more than 80 percent during the subway marketing portion of the campaign.
Great banners and use of outdoor and transit-oriented advertising resulting in fantastic traffic and a very fast lease-up. —Julie Smith, president, Bozzuto Management Co.

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.”