A Denver real estate startup wanted to get consumers’ attention at its launch into the Seattle market, so it placed about 1,500 cutouts of small green pigs all over the city, from parks to college campuses and even at the airport. The brokerage, Trelora, certainly got the city’s attention, but not in the way they intended.
The green pig marketing ploy instantly backfired as residents took to social media to voice their anger. One Reddit poster wrote: “You should know that you have read our region wrong. This is not the sort of thing we respond well toward. We take our parks very seriously and are so proud of them, that to see them used for free advertising is insulting.” Others posted comments on the brokerage’s “Seattle Green Pigs” Facebook page accusing the brokerage of littering and calling the campaign an “ill-informed marketing idea.” Some posted pictures of themselves gathering up the pigs to trash them.
The company posted a note on its Facebook page in response to the backlash.
The Seattle Parks and Recreation Department said it had been working to remove the green pigs throughout the city. Trelora said the campaign was temporary and that it had already intended to remove all the pigs by the end of the week. The brokerage’s CEO and co-founder, Joshua Hunt, told The Seattle Times that the company plans to donate $2,500 to the Seattle parks department. It also has given $10,000 to the Pike Place Market Foundation to support social services and community housing.
“We’ve always had every intention of removing the pigs, and will have Trelora crews dispersed throughout the city this week for cleanup,” Hunt said in a statement. “We chose Seattle for this very reason—it’s a passionate city that cares about its residents, its image, and its community.”
Expanding from the Colorado market, Trelora officially launched in the Seattle area on Wednesday. Trelora says it used the green pigs as a symbol for how the company “will turn consumers’ piggy banks green with commission savings.”
Source: “Seattle Not Amused by Green-Pigs Stunt by Real Estate Company,” The Seattle Times (Feb. 15, 2018)