London property developer uses Love Island and Made in Chelsea celebrities to 'test drive' luxury flats

Saleha Riaz
·2-min read
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Love Island stars and celebrities are being recruited to test-drive flats. Photo: Adam Torgerson/CBS via Getty Images

Property developer Avanton recruited celebrities including Love Island star Eyal Booker and pop singer Blithe Saxon to promote its new luxury apartments in Battersea, called Coda, by staying in them overnight.

Avanton said the celebrities, which also included model Lottie Moss and Made in Chelsea TV star Jemima Rhys, had 5 million combined social media followers and were asked to “test drive” the flats.

The £120m ($154m) development boasts 130 private sale apartments, 24-hour concierge, a gymnasium, landscaped gardens, and a new global headquarters for the Royal Academy of Dance.

Model Hana Cross, former girlfriend of Brooklyn Beckham who has been the face of Asos, Topshop and NastyGal; plus Abercrombie fashion model Betsy Volk; broadcaster Jimmy Hill and Siãn Welby, radio host and television presenter, were also on the list of celebs.

David Ronson, sales and marketing director at Avanton, explained that the campaign is an effective way of promoting the development “during a time when we cannot do large launch events or functions.”

Each guest and their household partner were invited to stay in a private apartment with caterers delivering food, champagne and other refreshments.

The next day they were asked to list the top five things they liked about Coda.

The survey of the approximately 20 people found that they liked the views, the hotel-like residential amenities, the hotel-grade beds in the show homes, the ballet inspired interior design and the friendly concierge staff.

To date over 50 private apartments and penthouses at Coda have been sold or reserved, with 91% of the buyers being owner/occupiers. The studio and one-bedroom apartments have sold predominantly to first-time buyers and young couples.

Many first-time buyers have been in their 20s and 30s, and Avanton said it believes the younger celebrities selected for the campaign match the age demographic of the buyers.

Avanton noted the marketing budget for the event was the same as the cost of taking repeat advertisements in a series of national newspapers and luxury magazines but “was well-worth the expenditure.”

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Omer Weinberger, Avanton CEO, said: “Celebrity and influencer social media driven property marketing is very sophisticated in locations such as Los Angeles, Miami, Monaco and New York. London and other European cities are playing catch-up, and this type of exercise will become standard practice over the next few years in the UK.”

Prices for a studio start at £510,000 and at £675,000 for a one-bed.