A towering success story

Karo Design Resources broke away from local tradition to devise a promotional campaign that would help sell 50% of the two-tower Harbour Side Park complex in downtown Vancouver within four months.At the conclusion of its marketing campaign, it had met its...

Karo Design Resources broke away from local tradition to devise a promotional campaign that would help sell 50% of the two-tower Harbour Side Park complex in downtown Vancouver within four months.

At the conclusion of its marketing campaign, it had met its goal three and a half months ahead of schedule.

So successful has karo been promoting the Harbour Side project that the design firm has received another contract from Toronto developers, as well as interest from Asian developers to develop similar campaigns there.

Previously, downtown developments waited for the traditional ground-breaking ceremonies to launch promotions. karo began its marketing campaign a full year ahead of schedule.

‘It had never been done before in Vancouver,’ says karo President Barry Marshall.

The karo designers also took a new approach to creating a logo, collateral and hoarding.

They came up with a design strategy that would make an atmospheric statement about being downtown, which would, in turn, be reflected in the materials they created.

Incorporating the theme of ‘investment opportunity,’ a 390-foot hoarding was designed to replace the existing fence around the development, which was owned by Noel Development.

Previously, the area was occupied by several down-at-heel commercial buildings.

‘We wanted the design of the hoarding to reflect the clean style and quality of the building, and [to] include a design of statistical charts about real estate trends,’ says Norbert Jakube, partner and design director.

‘A daytimer concept was added to create an urgency about investing in Harbour Side Park,’ Jakube says.

A team of designers and photographers went to work on a logo, incorporating the distinctive architectural features of the building and the sense of a waterfront.

At the same time, karo designed and built a 2,300-sq.-ft. presentation centre that included actual space planning layouts, working drawings, as well as investment information.

A full-scale model and floor plans were included at the site to present the atmosphere of the project as realistically as possible.

The most important component of the entire campaign was the promotion of a three-day pre-sale exhibition at the presentation centre.

karo designers wrapped the presentation centre completely in foil wrap. They added a couple of large price tag-shaped signs telling people about the May 1 opening of the pre-sale exhibition.

‘We wanted to spontaneously catch drivers of the bmws as they flew out of Stanley Park toward downtown,’ Marshall says.

Marshall and his staff were surprised by the fact that they had created such a large media event with the foil-wrapped building. The news media carried stories on the site all week.

karo distributed a brochure with the investment theme, promoting the benefits of owning a downtown one-bedroom suite as an investment, in addition to owning other properties.

karo placed print advertising promoting the pre-sale exhibition in the financial section of The Vancouver Sun rather than in the new homes section and placed ads in the upscale business weekly, Business In Vancouver.

Royal Lepage’s project marketing division mailed a designed invitation to 5,000 prospects culled from investment lists, and the media was invited to the May 1 opening.

On May 1, the rain was pouring, as it had throughout April. By 3 p.m., prospects began lining up at the door of the presentation site. Two hours later more than 100 people were lined up, waiting to get in, and the crowds remained waiting in line until after the closing at 8 p.m.

For the next two days of the pre-sale, it rained. Yet the lineups continued from opening to closing.

By May 15, one tower was sold out and two weeks later on July 1, sales had averaged 10 per week and 343 of the 390 had been sold, with just 47 units remaining.