Advertising that works

Research Inc. (Asia)/New Straits Times (Property Times), 22 May, 2004

by Lim Lay Ying

You can easily test how well advertisements work yourself. Next time you see a newspaper or magazine advertisement that catches your eye, read it quickly. Put it away and one hour later, see if you can remember the product that was being sold.

You’ll find that there are many advertisements which you see and possibly even “like” but can’t recall the product and service advertised. They may impress you for its cleverness, cuteness, aesthetic appeal, and brilliant design, but still fail to convince you to even consider finding out more about it.

And if you happen to be shopping around for a new house or any piece of real estate these days, you’ll probably be inundated with heaps of print advertisements in the newspapers. Press advertising remains the most popular form of marketing communication for developers because of the extent of reach they get from it. But it is also a costly affair, which at times may have to be repeated several times to reinforce the selling message.

Real estate developers have realized that selling real estate in today’s market calls for an entirely different approach from that they used years ago. In contrast to the hard-sell tactics employed before to sell their products, the selling message adopted by many of them currently is skewed towards selling a desired lifestyle.

Selling different lifestyles

Not many however have been able to communicate as effectively and with such finesse and subtlety as YTL Land & Development Bhd. Knowing fully well that location, location, and location do contribute in a large part to the marketability of a project, the company looked beyond that to create unique selling propositions for its developments in the neighbourhoods of Sentul and Puchong.

While most developers would have taken a less challenging way out by conforming to common public perceptions of those areas, YTL Land & Development Bhd chose to create something out of nothing – a way of life most Malaysians wouldn’t have dreamt of.

For its 294-acre Sentul project, the company has set itself on a mission to revive the area by “not just renewing the physical environment but also the community”. It has crafted a masterplan to programme life and soul into Sentul from the outset. The strategy of the plan was to create two precincts which are distinctively different in terms of character.

Sentul West and Sentul East straddle the existing KTM commuter tracks and the Sentul KTM Commuter Station, which in future will be joined by the Sentul Timur STAR LRT station. The 186-acre Sentul West precinct offers a reclusive lifestyle to those who prefer a quieter ambiance while Sentul East’s 108 acres set the tone for modern downtown living.

Conjuring positive images

Central to Sentul West is the 35-acre private gated Park at Sentul West which is presently being made-over to replicate 18th century English gardens. The Park, as large as St. James’ Park in London, will be surrounded by exclusive residences, offices, and shops. Following the success of the launch of The Maple at Sentul West last year, YTL Land & Development Bhd. is about to unveil another series of signature residences: The Mulberry at Sentul West.

At Sentul East, lofts and a variety of residences with open architecture will overlook spice shops, hypermarkets, cafes and local coffee shops. The Boulevard will form the main artery lined by gourmet delis and sidewalk cafes which will form part of the tempo of the lifestyle at Sentul East. Another new block of condominiums, named The Saffron at Sentul East, will be launched this year, adding another 500-odd units to The Tamarind which comprises a total of 498 units. Public response to The Tamarind was impressive considering that three-quarters of the units were sold over a three-month period when it was launched in 2002.

By the time the project is completed - around the end of this decade, both Sentul West and Sentul East would be home to about 50,000 residents. The former will offer 4,000 luxury homes while another 3,000 homes at the latter will be characterized mainly by exclusive, high-ceilinged loft apartments besides a range of homes for families.

The success of the project so far lends credence to the company’s advertising strategy which has worked to conjure positive images and perceptions amongst the general public.

Classic and effective advertising

This was again repeated in its development in Puchong – Lake Edge. The advertising message which sells the uniqueness of the development’s concept – more specifically, homes by the lake and the environment and lifestyle associated with it – caught on with the target audience.

The project’s maiden launch in February this year, of 175 units of two-storey courtyard homes priced from RM380,000 was a resounding success: all the units were sold in two months. Customers were drawn to features which have never before been offered by other developers of residential projects in the Puchong locality:-

  • The Water Edge – designed as a chic waterfront esplanade with facilities such as a skate park and a water promenade;
  • The Linear Park – which offers a kitchen garden, a spice garden, a reflexology trail, and a meandering forest footpath;
  • Curved streets lined with designer street furniture and wide, landscaped pedestrian pathways; and
  • A 9-acre lake which forms the central theme of the development.

Both of YTL Land& Development Bhd’s projects – Sentul West and Sentul East and Lake Edge, are amongst the most classic and effective examples of advertisements which work! And this is because the company knows who it is reaching out to, what they want, and how to influence them.

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