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Developers jostle for celebrities in new marketing strategy

As the momentum for housing delivery by private estate developers shifts away from the luxury housing range, developers are adopting new marketing tactics to woo prospective investors in the low-income end of the housing market.

The sector has faced the turbulence of economic recession, leading to the current property overhang in the market, with high number of unsold units and vacancy rates in major cities in the country.

It was made worse by the increase in property prices due to speculative investing as well as the surge in a number of developers jumping on the bandwagon for the past few years, whereby government’s and bankers’ responsibility cannot be absolved.

The phenomenon of property glut prevalent today did not get better despite many agents and developers’ effort in pushing sales, which include incentives, rebates and lowered rent as well as a down payment.

But to surmount these challenges, especially loss of confidence by Nigerians on the private developers, sector players are hiring celebrities, mostly Nollywood stars, notable footballers and comedians in their real estate marketing.

These celebrities popularly called brand ambassadors are now seen as the face of some of the projects, to instill credibility on prospective investors or subscribers that such projects are not a rip-off or fraudulent.

In time past, some developers had pushed their luck too far by selling fenced plots in proposed estates without infrastructure. Some of these estates dot different parts of the country, especially major cities such as Abuja, Lagos Port Harcourt and are still undeveloped and five years after.

But in a new twist, the developers that signed on these brand ambassadors seem to be some of the biggest developers, who want to break even in a competitive field like real estate and stay ahead of the curve in the midst of the challenges bedeviling the sector.

Most of these developers are wrapping up construction work on on-going projects, while others are expanding their portfolio and launching new projects to bridge the gap in the housing industry. Some, also, is tidying up preparations to move to site and begin work on new schemes in the coming weeks.

Specifically, at the last count, more than 20 celebrities have been engaged as brand ambassadors by the property developers. They include former captain of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, Kanu Nwankwo, Super Falcons player, Azeezat Oshoala, Nollywood actress/producer Omoni Oboli, Pop star, Innocent Idibia, Nollywood actor and producer, Kunle Afolayan, and Veteran Nollywood actor, Richard Mofe-Damijo (RMD).

One of the companies, Landlagos said Mofe-Damijo was engaged in “the company’s quest to reverse the unfair and unrealistic pricing of property in Lagos.”

RMD decried the way property inflates in Lagos, saying that it was a pleasure to be teaming up with a company that is genuinely committed to reversing the trend, thereby making it possible for the average Nigerian worker to own property.

Nwankwo, who is the ambassador of Perfection Real Estate Group, said there is a synergy between Perfection and Kanu Heart Foundation in the sense that a certain percentage of earnings of Perfection Real Estate Group would go to support the Kanu Heart Foundation.

“Whatever they make from this venture, they are going to give an amount to help the poor who cannot get medical sponsors. So the Kanu Heart Foundation and Perfection Real Estate Group are working together not only to help the less privileged in areas of the property but also in the area of health,” Kanu said. He was also made a director of the company.

Pazino Homes and Gardens also unveiled Idibia as its Brand Ambassador. Super Falcon’s jewel, Oshoala had also signed for the company.

The Managing director, Pazino ECC said: “The unveiling of 2Baba is a pointer to where the business is headed as it positions to offer discerning investors a unique opportunity to own a piece of the future,” he said.

Similarly, Oboli was signed recently by RevolutionPlus Property Limited. Speaking at the ceremony Omoni said, I will make sure and do my best to push the brand effectively”.

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Company Mr. Bamidele Onalaja who presented the contract papers to Oboli promised to work with her with a good heart.

                credit: Chinedum Uwaegbulam

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