Mort­gage pro­gram raises pro­file with rolling ads

Car wraps pro­mote Md. Mort­gage Pro­gram for first time home­buy­ers

Maryland Independent - - Business - By DAR­WIN WEIGEL dweigel@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @somd_bized­i­tor

South­ern Mary­land driv­ers may see a mov­ing ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign for a state pro­gram roll on by them in the next few months as they’re driv­ing down the road or inch­ing through traf­fic.

The Mary­land Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment has teamed up with Carver­tise, a Wilm­ing­ton, Del., media com­pany, to wrap 24 cars in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s coun­ties with an ad­ver­tise­ment for the depart­ment’s Mary­land Mort­gage Pro­gram. The cars, which are ex­pected to wrack up 72,000 miles in three months, are pri­vately owned by res­i­dents who will earn $350 to get out the state’s mes­sage. They hit the roads April 1 and are re­quired to keep rolling through June.

“What’s good about this pro­gram is it’s putting money back in the com­mu­nity,” Lisa L. Flow­ers, owner of Flow­ers Media Mat­ters in Mil­ford, Del., said in a tele­phone in­ter­view. “It’s lo­cal driv­ers. Th­ese aren’t peo­ple from the Mary­land Mort­gage Pro­gram, th­ese are lo­cal driv­ers.” Carver­tise is one of Flow­ers’s pub­lic re­la­tions clients.

The hous­ing depart­ment’s mo­bile ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign, which is cur­rently only be­ing run in the three South­ern Mary­land coun­ties, is ex­pected to raise the pro­file of the mort­gage pro­gram and en­tice first time home­buy­ers to look into the pro­grams of­fered by the depart­ment that can help them pur­chase their first home.

The Mary­land Mort­gage Pro­gram is a home loan pro­gram that pro­vides a safe and se­cure loans from Mary­land’s Hous­ing Fi­nance Agency, ac­cord­ing to the Mary­land Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment web­site. The loans are typ­i­cally 30-year fixed rate with in­ter­ests rates com­pet­i­tive with com­mer­cial lenders, the web­site states. “Po­ten­tial bor­row­ers with liq­uid as­sets equal to 20 per­cent or more of the sales price may not be el­i­gi­ble for the pro­gram,” the web­site says. El­i­gi­ble bor­row­ers also need to have a min­i­mum credit score between 640 and 700, de­pend­ing on the loan type.

Along with the dif­fer­ent loan prod­ucts and ed­u­ca­tion, the mort­gage pro­gram also of­fers down pay­ment and clos­ing cost as­sis­tance in the form of no-in­ter­est, de­ferred loans — up to $5,000 — as well as loan match as­sis­tance, ac­cord­ing to the state web­site.

The hous­ing depart­ment didn’t have any­one avail­able for com­ment this week to say ex­actly why it chose the car wrap method to get the word out in South­ern Mary­land, but Flow­ers said it was just an­other way to at­tract eye­balls to a mes­sage.

“It’s re­ally a media plat­form; it’s a mov­ing bill­board,” Flow­ers said. “It’s used to raise aware­ness of the brand.”

Both Flow­ers and Carver­tise co-founder Greg Star also said it adds an­other di­men­sion to the ad­ver­tis­ing dol­lar: It puts some of it back in the hands of tax­pay­ers.

“This al­lows the client, in this case, Mar yland Mort­gage Pro­gram, to in­vest money back into the com­mu­nity,” Star said in a press re­lease. “It’s an ideal part­ner­ship for lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions, such as gov­ern­ments, to show their au­di­ences their pro­grams and pro­vide jobs in the lo­cal com­mu­nity.”

Flow­ers said Carver­tise has done cam­paigns like this on both the state and na­tional level with gov­ern­ments, uni­ver­si­ties and pri­vate busi­nesses such as restau­rant chain Buf­falo Wild Wings and on­line re­tailer Ama­zon.

The state of Delaware did a car wrap ad­ver­tis­ing pro­gram last year in con­junc­tion with NAS­CAR on driver safety.

“Ev­ery cam­paign is dif­fer­ent. When we did a cam­paign in Delaware we had 20 cars over a five month pe­riod,” Flow­ers said. That cam­paign was “Pro­tect Your Melon” (buckle up) and “Use Your Melon” (drive sober), and the cars were wrapped in a water­melon theme.

The South­ern Mary­land cam­paign car wraps in­clude a house-shaped state flag logo and ask: “Ready to own your first home?” The wrap also in­cludes the mort­gage pro­gram web­site (mmp.Mary­land.gov/own) and a phone num­ber (800638-7781).

Given the ad­mo­ni­tions of late about dis­tracted driv­ing com­ing from state and lo­cal of­fi­cials, those last bits of in­for­ma­tion are prob­a­bly best read and writ­ten down at a stop­light or at the gro­cer y store park­ing lot.

SUBMITTED PHO­TOS

Twenty-four wrapped cars are ad­ver­tis­ing the Mary­land Mort­gage Pro­gram around South­ern Mary­land through June. The cars are ex­pected to wrack up 72,000 miles in to­tal.

Twenty-four wrapped cars are ad­ver­tis­ing the Mary­land Mort­gage Pro­gram around South­ern Mary­land through June. The cars are ex­pected to wrack up 72,000 miles in to­tal.

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