Do You Want A House With That Christmas Tree?

December is a busy, profitable month for retailers and the slowest time of the year for the real estate industry.

One home building company decided to target families at a holiday-centric location, location, location (as in the old real estate saying) -- Christmas tree farms. Talk about combining family, festivities, homes and advertising in one fell swoop.

At a time when many home building companies are halting advertising and marketing strategies, Bradley and Montgomery placed advertising at six local Indianapolis Christmas tree farms on behalf of Hansen & Horn, a builder of single-family homes.

A handful of trees at each farm were decorated with house keys that encouraged tree cutters to visit a Hansen & Horn property. Those taking the company up on their offer received a $25 gift certificate to a local mall.

Prospective buyers were also given a promotional offering of "no mortgage payments for nine months." The campaign ran from October through January.

Advertising on the tree farms cost $1800; according to Bradley and Montgomery, not a single customer complained about seeing advertising on the Christmas trees.

"The conversion rate of tree keys to gift cards was 3%," according to Michael Karnuta, account manager at Bradley and Montgomery.

"H&H saw a lift in the number of visitors to the model homes. Traffic counts were up over the previous year. In March, Hansen & Horn registered one of their busiest months," he said.

Interesting enough, most of the time it was children visiting the tree farms with their parents that noticed the shiny gold keys -- aka ads -- first. Expose them at a young age.

If Hansen & Horn didn't catch you while cutting down your Christmas tree, fear not, for they made house calls.

Another component of the campaign was free bundles of firewood wrapped in a red bow and delivered to homes in targeted neighborhoods promoting discounts on the purchase of a pre-construction home.

"The neighborhoods were picked based on their approximate household income level and the fact the neighborhood was made up of older homes," said Karnuta.

"The areas had also been recently assessed with a significant property tax increase that we believe is causing many those residents to look elsewhere at new construction," he continued.

Do you feel that this form of advertising is too invasive? Post your thoughts to the Media Creativity blog.

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