By Connie Adair

Some people want to see their name in lights but broker Ilan Joseph was thrilled to see his name soaring above the Toronto waterfront.

Recently Joseph’s banner (which read, “199 Church Condos-VIP Sale-Ilan Joseph 416-419-7001”) was pulled behind a helicopter for an hour, making four loops from Burlington to east Toronto.



“This type of marketing is usually reserved for places like Mexico or Miami,” says Joseph, a broker with Sutton Group – Admiral Realty in Toronto.

He has been in real estate for 17 years and says he’s constantly on the lookout for new and different marketing ideas. He reasons, why do what everyone else is doing or do the ordinary?

“Will people end up buying with me? Who knows, but grabbing their attention is the first step…It was pretty exciting to watch. Within minutes, I had seven texts and phone calls,” he says.

The timing for his fly-by was right. With more people staying home due to COVID-19, he knew he’d have an audience on the ground. By getting special permission to fly at a lower-than-usual altitude, it also put his message “right in the face” of owners or renters in the many condo towers along the waterfront.

For branding, this splashy idea definitely made sense because of its impact.

After he came up with the idea, a Google search for airplane or helicopter companies that would make his idea a reality eventually led him to media company Wild on Media, which offers aerial advertising. Signage with five-foot-tall letters was made in the United States and flown in.

Joseph says since real estate salespeople don’t usually do this type of marketing, everyone was anxious to iron out issues and make it work. “I told them once other agents see it, they’ll come flying” over to check out the company.

Marketing campaigns cost a lot (this one cost about $3,800) but he says that if you’re going to do it, make it worthwhile. “Postcards are thrown away and emails go straight to trash,” he says.

Some of his other marketing includes ads on rail bridges, in elevators and on benches. “It’s about creating awareness.”

He says sometimes people approach him on the street, insisting they know him. “They think they know me because they see my face so often” on benches, says Joseph, who sells new and resale residential real estate in Toronto and nearby Vaughan.

A downtown Toronto development launched in mid-July, 199 Church Condos will offer 484 suites in a 39-storey building by CentreCourt Developments. Joseph is an official “platinum broker” for CentreCourt.

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