BOSTON-DeWolfe New England broke from tradition in a $6 million ad campaign targeting home buyers.
Created by Horizon Graphic Communications in Milford, N.H., the effort avoids photographs of properties in favor of gently blurred painted images of home interiors coupled with stories told from the perspective of satisfied consumers.
In its "One stop and you're home" campaign, the Lexington, Mass.-based real estate company bills itself as an inviting shopping center for home buyers.
"We wanted to develop a brand image," said Barbara Chambers, DeWolfe's marketing director. "The research we conducted convinced us that the home purchase process was viewed as confusing, scary and exhausting by consumers. Our campaign demonstrates that we understand the emotional aspects of homeownership . . . rather than simply featuring shot after shot of the product."
Chambers joined DeWolfe last year from Marshalls, where she spent five years in the marketing and strategic planning departments. She said the reaction to the new approach within DeWolfe is "typical. Some people like it, and others don't. Like anything else, I don't think it will have a real effect until we roll it all out."
Seven ads broke in August in The Boston Globe, The Hartford Courant, the Manchester Union-Leader and Boston magazine. The campaign will continue to run in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut daily and weekly newspapers as well as monthly magazines. The campaign also has a direct mail counterpart, and new sales brochures were distributed to DeWolfe offices.
In a real estate market that some liken to the boom of 1987, will DeWolfe's competitors respond with brand-building campaigns?
Saul Cohen, president and founder of Hammond Residential Real Estate in Chestnut Hill, N.H., said it's unlikely. "People might ask what are we going to do . . . but that's an ongoing process."