The Market

Are hip celebrity neighbors the newest amenity trend?

By Virginia K. Smith  | March 16, 2017 - 4:30PM

It's well known at this point that in the current slowing market, new developments are giving out concessions like candy in hopes of luring renters into their high-priced buildings. But Brooklyn rental complex 300 Ashland is taking the full court press even further, having hired actress and writer Tavi Gevinson to promote the building on her Instagram feed, as well as to host events for residents in the building.

As The Cut reported last night, Gevinson herself is a resident of the building, where the cheapest apartment is a $2,945/month studio. She's posted several photos of herself in the building, touting its design, and proximity to BAM. A spokesperson for developer Two Trees told The Cut, "We are partnering with a few creative influencers who are great fits for our residential buildings." (Sounds like a throwback to the old celebrity-in-buildings trend from the mid-aughts.)

When it comes to events Gevinson will be hosting, the rep said, "Our influencers will continue to create the same great content while enjoying their new homes and neighborhoods, and will be hosting special experiences open to our residents. We think it’s an exciting addition to our marketing efforts and a terrific amenity for tenants."

Below are a few recent posts she's tagged at 300 Ashland, and hashtagged #AshlandPartner:


Happy moving troll!!!!

A post shared by Tavi Gevinson (@tavitulle) on



Of course, posting sponsored content (or #sponcon) on Instagram is hardly new territory for celebrities, many of whom post gushing photos of Airbnb apartments on vacation, often in exchange for a free stay. (Though the sponsor relationship isn't always made clear.) And it certainly makes sense why a Brooklyn developer would want to harness Gevinson's cultural capital in an attempt to garner some vaguely artsy cred of their own.

But for Gevinson, who usually demonstrates preternatural levels of media savvy, it's puzzling. No one would knock her for wanting cheap rent in a high-end building, but why publicly and repeatedly put your home address on social media? Beyond the possible safety and privacy questions, there's so much potential for this to get uncomfortable—can you imagine being stuck in an elevator with an eager fan who literally decided to pay $3,000/month, in part because it meant having you for a neighbor? And then having to host parties for those people?

More to the point, though, we're curious who the main audience for this. The majority of Gevinson's core fan base—that is to say, young-ish women in creative industries—presumably can't afford these kinds of prices. So what's the endgame? Drawing in parent-bankrolled NYU students hoping to slip Tavi their writing samples? Someone else? Suffice it to say it'll be interesting to see which other celebrities 300 Ashland rolls out as "influencers"—and whether other buildings start to follow suit. 


Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.