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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5 Responses

  1. Robert Vigh March 10, 2010 / 2:16 pm
    This qualifies as one seriously stupid lawsuit. To think, part of my tax money will go to pay the courthouse, judge, officers and support for some one to seize property from another individual because they marketed.
    So, maybe it is a good idea by Connor group. We get to subsidize their exposure because our government is retarded.
     
  2. David Lauri March 10, 2010 / 5:34 pm
    Under the the Fair Housing Act it is illegal for anyone to, among other things:

    advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family and owner-occupied housing that is otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.

     
    You may disagree with this, but unless and until the law is changed, sales or rental ads targeting people of a particular gender or familial status are illegal. If you don’t like the law, you can contact your Representative or Senators and try to get the law changed.

  3. David Lauri March 10, 2010 / 5:37 pm
    Oh, and to answer David E’s question as to how this is “any different than places that advertise senior 55+ communities,” the Fair Housing Act provides certain exemptions for 55 and older housing.  See the same page to which I linked to above.
  4. Drexel Dave Sparks March 10, 2010 / 6:13 pm
    They should have to apologize and run an ad stating they were sorry and stating their commitment to fair housing practices.
    Otherwise, this just sounds like a marketing manager who isn’t cognizant of all of the ramifications involved in the big picture of fair housing law, but certainly not an overt institutional malicious attempt to skirt the law or overtly discriminate.
  5. Jeff of Dayton March 10, 2010 / 6:26 pm
    Conner & Murhpy are a bunch of rip-off artists.  There are negative comments about them and  from their tenants at City-Data forum.

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