Homeowners will go to great lengths to pay their mortgages – including turning their home into a giant billboard.
Brainiacs From Mars, a marketing company that implements “non-traditional, high impact, highly targeted alternative marketing solutions,” has started what they call a “billboard home initiative.” It involves painting homes bright colors and slapping advertisements on them in exchange for paying the owner’s mortgage.
When the initiative was launched, the company received 38,000 applications from eager homeowners wanting help with their mortgage payments. But Brainiacs from Mars isn’t interested in high traffic areas – they are interested in helping the neediest families.
So, the first family chosen was the Hostetler family. Scott Hostetler and his wife are both deaf and work for Goodwill. They have lived in their home for 18 years and have a mortgage payment of $2,000 a month – and now that their home is painted bright orange and green, they are getting a check for two grand every single month.
So, that’s great for the Hostetlers, but what about the neighbors? I shot this question over to David Le at Brainiacs From Mars, who said that neighbors actually don’t mind.
“We talk with surrounding neighbors to let them know what we're doing. We explain that this is temporary and enables the homeowners to get back on their feet and avoid a foreclosures or short sale,” he said. ‘The results have been overwhelmingly positive once we explain what we're doing.”
In fact, two of the Hostetlers’ neighbors now want the company to paint their houses, too.
Le also said the company checks the city’s zoning laws before starting a project. They are rolling out two types of homes based on what the city does and does not allow. For areas that permit ads to be placed on homes, they’ll paint the houses and place ads. For areas that don’t, they’ll just paint them.
“Our goal is to get it to the point where our colors become recognizable. We've received so many applications we found these two versions were necessary to help as many people as we can,” he said.
While the picture shows ads up on the Hostetler’s home, they were only up during the photoshoot done for Reuters – which originally reported the initiative.
“Reuters failed to mention that the ads were only up for their photoshoot,” he said. “If you drive by the home now, they are not up.”
But regardless of option one or option two, Le said property values for surrounding homes won’t be affected because the redecoration is only temporary. When the contract is up, or when homeowners decide they no longer want the bright colors and signs adorning their homes, Brainiacs From Mars will restore the house to its original condition.
“This gives the homeowner an opportunity to save money, helping them to avoid foreclosure or a short sale which will certainly impact neighborhood prices,” he said.
In the meantime, business is booming for Brainiac’s From Mars. According to the company’s website, the bizarre advertising strategy is leading to outrageous claims of out-of-this-world amounts of attention.
The interesting itiative has also stirred an international media response, with coverage spotting the globe from the Spain to Slovakia to the Netherlands. It even made an appearance in Jay Leno's monologue - all amounting to about $55 million in free publicity.
$2,000 a month seems a small price to pay for such impressive results.