Ad Firm Wants to Pay Your Mortgage For Ad Space

Ad Firm Wants to Pay Your Mortgage For Ad Space
The finished product

Would you make your home a billboard? What if doing so allowed you to stay in your home a bit longer and avoid foreclosure?

These are the questions some homeowners are asking themselves in light of the program launched by marketing firm Brainiacs From Mars, based in northern California. The company will offer to pay the mortgage of homeowners in or approaching foreclosure if Brainiacs From Mars can paint your home to essentially be their business card. The company started this idea in April of last year, and last month finished their first home in nearby Buena Park, Calif. The team is shooting to reach 100 ad-painted homes by the end of 2012.

"The response has been hard to believe," says Brainiacs From Mars CEO Romeo Mendoza. "We're up to over 40,000 homeowners who are applying for the program."

Of that number, Mendoza estimates that 200-250 applications have come from Chicago. However, given Chicago's market, it is on a short list of cities that Brainiacs hopes to home-stamp soon. "We're looking at a lot of major cities, including Chicago," says Mendoza, "because that exposure would benefit our company."

You might wonder if this feels a bit predatory, taking advantage of someone when they're desperate. After all, ad space in Chicago can be worth far more than a mortgage payment.

"We're helping homeowners and they're helping us," says Mendoza. "It's the perfect relationship."

The program has helped Menoza's company pick up new clients for work on other campaigns, so it's already been a great success for Brainiacs From Mars. For now, the company will continue to use this project as a business card, according to Mendoza. And there's no doubt that the homeowners appreciate the financial help. Each home is on a month-to-month arrangement with Brainiacs, with a goal of 3-6 months of mortgage payments.

With real estate values down, are homeowners likely to seek out similar opportunities, including rooftop ads for Google Earth photography and the like? Before spray-painting any ads, be sure to meet all City of Chicago outdoor billboard requirements. If not, the city is ready and waiting to fine any violators.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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  • The "meet all billboard requirements" probably dooms this from the start. It is unlikely that any municipality will allow painting advertising on the side of a single family house. Most even restrict lawn signs (except when the political ones get the benefit of First Amendment challenges).

    Also, obviously, this does no good for a condo owner, for no other reason, because one does not own the exterior wall surface.

    So, it looks like the days of a beer ad painted on the side of any commercial building (or an ad with a phone number starting with PEnnsylvania6 instead of 773-736) remain mostly gone.

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