An extreme marketing campaign that has homeowners around the country clamoring to have their homes repainted as giant billboards is also raising the eyebrows -- and blood pressures -- of some community members suddenly confronted by huge neon "eyesores" in their midst.
Brainiacs from Mars is an "unconventional marketing" company that helps its clients "gain more customers by implementing non-traditional, high impact, highly targeted alternative marketing solutions," according to its website. One of these high-impact solutions is the Brainiacs' Billboard Home campaign, which gives struggling homeowners the chance to have their mortgages paid every month for up to a year, in exchange for allowing the company to paint their houses as giant green and orange billboards.
Brainiacs CEO Romeo Mendoza said he got the idea for the campaign after driving home one day with his daughter and noticing the "Bank Owned" sign in a front yard. His 6-year-old told him that something should be done to help people keep their houses, he told KDKA.
The Hostettlers in Buena Park, Calif., were the first to take advantage of the deal. Mendoza said he chose them because of their compelling story -- both parents are deaf and 17-year-old daughter Sarah signs for them.
Their home stayed neon-hued for two months this February, according to the Boston Globe, long enough to attract the stares of passersby and the attention of local news outlets.
But the Hostettlers' neighbors weren't all so pleased with the new addition to the community, reports LAist. "I get migraines. I'm like, oh my God, that's gonna blind me every day," one neighbor told the blog, while another called the color scheme "absolutely horrible."
Mendoza said that while the neon houses may shock neighbors at first, once they realize that one less foreclosure means a boost in the area's property values, they're less hesitant to get on board, according to the Globe.
As news of the Brainiacs opportunity spread, the company began to receive applications from all over the country and around the world, more than 42,000 competitors nationwide and abroad competing for 3,000 total spots, according to the Daily News.
“God knows I could use the money,” Khamattie Jones, a nurse whose two-bedroom is one of 149 Brooklyn homeowners vying for the altruistic paint jobs. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” she told the Daily News.
In Buena Park, where the Brainiacs campaign ran afoul of some neighbors, the company made its advertisements removable in order to attempt to comply with city ordinances, reported the Globe.
Advertising signs are not allowed in Brooklyn residential areas, a City Planning Department zoning expert told the Daily News, so the firm would have to reconsider part of the advertising package.
Not a problem, according to Mendoza. The color scheme is “advertising without words,” Mendoza said.
A Brainiacs account on the fundraising site Indiegogo has also been set up for those who want to help Mendoza and Braniacs from Mars pay the mortgages of worthy families. According to the site, a contribution of $34 will keep a family in their home for an extra day, while $238 will keep a family in their home for a week and $1061 will provide relief for a family for a month.