Rebekah received an advertising flyer in the mail recently from a local roofing company. It was addressed to “Current Resident,” and she glanced at it before throwing it away. Wait…that house printed on the postcard looked familiar. It was her house. Unnerved, she sent the postcard over to us, asking, “Is this common?”
None of us here at Consumerist headquarters had ever heard of an advertiser taking pictures of houses and using them as part of a direct-mail campaign. It seemed kind of creepy, but not illegal.
Rebekah says that this is a new photo of her house: it wasn’t pulled from Google Street View or Bing Maps, since she knows what her house looks like on those services. She estimates that the picture was a few weeks old based on the landscaping and other things that only a homeowner would notice.
“I can imagine my big dog sitting in that window howling in anger as someone snaps this photo of my house,” Rebekah wrote to us. Yes, the photographers probably were barked at a lot. What they were doing must have offended the sensibilities of many household pets, but as long as they took photos from the street and didn’t photograph from any lawns or driveways, they weren’t doing anything illegal. Was it intrusive or creepy? People have differing opinions on it.
We contacted Tech Roof Pros, the company in Georgia behind the mailing, and they were very transparent about this ad campaign. Yes, those were original photos taken recently. Some customers thought that a picture of their own house had been mailed to everyone else, like this recipient who posted to Facebook and who definitely doesn’t need a new roof:
Consumerist asked Tech Roof Pros to clarify, and they explained that each flyer had a picture of the house that it was mailed to.
The campaign got recipients’ attention, and was very effective marketing, but the company would prefer not to confuse or frighten the very people they’re trying to sell new roofs to.
“Because of the confusion you mentioned, we will not be using this type of advertising again,” a spokesperson told Consumerist. “We were very disappointed that some people were confused (and justifiably so) and that is not our goal at all as a service provider of top quality roofing services.”
There you have it: they tried something, customers complained that it upset them, and the company listened.
If you’ve received a flyer similar to this, or any other mailing that seems intrusive, let us know! We’d like to hear about it.