On the Warpath
Many times my clients become my friends. It happens when we share the same interests such as creative marketing and when we discover that we are kindred spirits. Despite very different backgrounds and ages two decades apart, we have much in common. In this case, we both value creative expression of any kind in any form.
Creative Marketing: The best commercials are no longer on TV.
This time, it was a commercial my friend wanted me to see. It wasn’t for a major brand or made for TV. Created for a video game, it was the official live-action cinematic trailer for Warpath. It is over five minutes long. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg would not mind having it on their resumes.
The game itself, my friend told me, is lame by comparison, not nearly as creative. That’s too bad but takes nothing away from the commercial. The people who made it had fun doing it, I’m sure.
A Company called TRW
It was the 1980s when Pac-Man was all the rage. I played it in airports during layovers on my travels for a company called TRW. I was in charge of implementing the company’s new identity program. Today, we call that branding.
The company’s enlightened CEO, a Ph.D. in rocket science, realized that not all the company’s operations would embrace the change. So he commissioned the local Cleveland agency for some creative marketing to overcome any resistance. Specifically, he asked the agency to create commercials that would do three things: introduce the company to the public, showcase its technological leadership and, most importantly, fill the company’s employees with pride. And he knew that the most visible venue to generate that pride was during the Super Bowl.
In itself, spending top dollars on America’s most-watched TV event was revolutionary, but a relatively obscure company running a pure image commercial next to beer and burgers? (Remember, “Where’s the beef?”) But it was the execution of the commercial that was groundbreaking. It set a new standard for using animation in TV commercials.
Creative marketing in real estate: an elevator without the elevator music
Real estate marketing, specifically the marketing of listings, is not exactly a hotbed of creativity. The reason for this lack of creative marketing in real estate is, in my opinion, twofold. One is the blind belief in anything billed as the latest technology. The other is the creative service providers who specialize just in real estate. They accidentally or cunningly have figured out that real estate is a large and somewhat unsophisticated market where the creative and production values do not have to live up to other industries, such as the automotive and fashion businesses.
One would have thought that the Pandemic of 2020 would raise the creative level of online property presentations. The virtual staging, virtual tour, and drone businesses experienced a boon, but the “much-more” turned out much more of the same. It was the same old slow-panning-in-and-out of images and music that would not improve an elevator ride.
I knew that the listing of a $6 million Bellevue luxury home deserved something special. Creating the usual long-winded video covering 5,600 square feet, say nothing of the nearly half-acre location with breathtaking views, was out of the question. Instead, I decided to create several under-a-minute drone videos that would show how the interior and exterior spaces make this home a special place.
I could not have conceived the idea of such creative marketing without knowing just the right person. Royden Lepp came recommended by another photographer. He is the only FAA commercially licensed drone photographer known to me who creates interior “FPV” – First-Person Videos. We planned the flight paths and used the licensed music I had purchased explicitly for every 989 marketing video.
989 is the house number we chose for the home located at the end of 100th Avenue SE in Bellevue.
You could say that the current sellers’ market is responsible for the home finding a buyer in just three days. I like to believe the unconventional approach to marketing this home – informative and entertaining – went a long way in attracting potential buyers. In addition, the eventual buyer asked to have another feature of the website – the Hard Hat Tour – preserved for his use after the purchase.
None of this creative marlketing would have been possible without a client I could call a friend and a team that worked very hard to make 989 much more than a number.
Published originally as the 125th issue of The View from the Street.