Bad ad or cheap PR

Is this a chapter from the Duke’s/Dominic’s court battle, or just bad advertising? It seems the Connor Group wants to find tenants, and thinks the happy hour crowd is its target market:

The craigslist advertisement offered “a great bachelor pad for any single man looking to hook up.”

But where some might see a clever slogan, the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center saw discrimination, and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission agreed.

The center filed a federal discrimination lawsuit Friday, March 5, against The Connor Group, owner and manager of about 1,900 apartment units in the greater Dayton area.

Connor’s local properties include Stonebridge Apartment Homes in Beavercreek and Chesapeake Landing Apartments in Dayton.

The lawsuit seeks more than $25,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and a mandate that Connor Group employees receive fair housing law training. The center also wants to monitor Connor for compliance with federal and state laws for the next three years.

Officials with The Connor Group did not return a call for comment.

via Apartment ad campaign under fire for discrimination.

Of course, as one DDN commentor [UPDATE: 11:20 am The DDN removed all comments and closed comments] pointed out- how is this any different than places that advertise senior 55+ communities? There are other places that have reputations- including the Cannery Downtown which has a nickname that I won’t repeat.

Considering an ad campaign in the DDN, coverage by TV news- etc. costs more than an ad campaign, the $25K fine is chump change and probably will increase the level of awareness by their target market.

No one would have gone to Dukes based on the reputation of the original Duke’s Golden Ox- but, the knowledge that they had Dominic’s former chef sure helped business.

Considering advertising media is even more fragmented and ignored- PR stunts like this may be more common in the future- and definitely offer more bang for you buck. I know one thing is for sure- hiring an ad agency to do real marketing would cost more, but if the Connor Group is interested- I think I know one.

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