Sometimes thinking outside the box can create a marketing legend. The Rock City Barns.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Richard Weisser Realty

See Rock City Barn painted along Highway 411Marketing is a strange and fickle paramour. When approached in a conventional manner, it may or may not respond in the way that is expected. Sometimes exercising a little more effort and creativity than the norm is required.

A case in point is the famous "See Rock City" barns and birdhouses. The marketing program was instituted in the middle of the Great Depression as a way of promoting a tourist attraction on Lookout Mountain Tennessee.

The concept was simple. Rock City would paint a barn for free. Not just any barn, but one that was prominent alongside a well traveled highway. The farmer ended up with a freshly panted barn and Rock City wound up with a durable billboard. The result was a true win-win for both parties.

See Rock City BirdhouseAnd a marketing legend was born. The Rock City Barns are considered one of the most ingenious marketing plans ever set into place. And as a result, the attraction remains in operation to this day!

The upshot of all of this is that there is always room for innovation in marketing. And while the tried and true methods may be adequate to maintain market share, it may take a bit more creativity to take a business to the next level.

Who knows, the next great marketing legend is out there somewhere. I wonder what they will come up with next!

Learn more about Rock City.

All content, including text, original art, photographs and images, is the exclusive property of Coweta Fayette Real Estate, Inc., and may not be used without the expressed written permission of ERA United Realty and Coweta Fayette Real Estate of ERA United Realty Newnan Georgia. All information is believed to be accurate but is not warranted, Copyright 2003-2009. Richard Weisser 770-827-6225.
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Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

When did you buy out ActiveRain and change it to ActiveRichard?!!!!

I love your posts, but featuring yourself over and over again?!!!




May 26, 2009 08:27 AM #51
Jen Anderson
Exit By the Bay Realty - Chesapeake Beach, MD

Richard, we all need to think outside the box, at least once in a while!

May 26, 2009 08:38 AM #52
Susan Mangigian
RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches

Hi Richard!!  Another gold star!!  Congrats!!  xxoo

May 26, 2009 09:18 AM #53
a a
Bannock, ID

It wasn't until I went into business for myself three months ago that I started to really appreciate great marketing.  I have always loved the Rock City barns!

It is amazing how making just one clever marketing move at just the right time can put you way over the top!

May 26, 2009 09:20 AM #54
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Richard - I love this type of "old school" marketing, and it's generally instructive for all of us.  There is a place between Austin and Dallas called "Carl's Place" that I never fail to notice.  Why?  Because it's painted on the roof, just like in your photos here.

May 26, 2009 09:30 AM #55
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional

Don R...

Rock City is so unlike any place else's cool! I may head to Lookout Mountain this weekend and check it out again! THX


That is exactly what I am trying to say here. Thanks for the comment.


It does do that, that's for sure! Thanks for commenting on my post.

May 26, 2009 11:16 AM #56
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


Wow, I can't believe that you have never seen one. Most people (ahem) our age have experienced them in our car travels. And there are still a few around. Thanks.


I did, and if one Richard is good three Richards MUST be better. lol and thanks.


Just lucky I guess. But a little Richard goes a long way! Thanks for the comment.

May 26, 2009 11:20 AM #57
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

Ha...this is a great idea.  I've seen it in VT and NH on some barns.

Thanks for the post today.

Patricia Aulson/Portsmouth NH Real Estate

May 26, 2009 11:57 AM #58
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

Hmmm. Clever. It worked back then. Now to come up with some clever marketing strategy like this that doesn't come across as a cheap knock-off of an original idea...or maybe I might be able to come up with an original idea. Thanks!

May 26, 2009 12:28 PM #59
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Hi Richard,

This is very clever marketing which I have seen before but great idea..simple and effective!

May 26, 2009 01:49 PM #60
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Richard -- Very interesting post.  It's interesting to see how things change, and also how things still remain the same at some level.

May 26, 2009 04:11 PM #61
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

How far is that from Wall Drug?  And do they actually function as a drug store anymore?  Actually, there are a lot of brilliant marketing ideas like that... I need to come up with mine. 

May 26, 2009 04:32 PM #62
Steve Hoffacker
Steve Hoffacker LLC - West Palm Beach, FL
Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor


I remember seeing the "See Rock City" barns around the midwest and it became a source of amusement. :)


May 26, 2009 04:38 PM #63
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

I'd never heard of this phenomenon, and think it's quite ingenious.  It would be great to come up with this type of idea.

May 26, 2009 04:56 PM #64
Terri Hattaway
Real Estate and Financial Services - Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Richard I love this post.  It brings back wonderful memories.  Years ago my late husband and I bought a Rock City birdhouse for his sister's birthday.  It hangs proudly in the woods of Chuluota, Florida.  Thanks!

May 26, 2009 05:10 PM #65
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, Broker
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana of Real Estate!

Great idea......bring back what the old farmers in MN used to use years ago.  Gotta go and find somebody to paint for me...........thanks!  Just have to figure out how to adapt something like this to phoenix.

May 27, 2009 10:47 AM #66
JL Boney, III
Coldwell Banker - Columbia, SC
Columbia, SC Real Estate

There is nothing in this world like creativity, it sure makes things interesting and keeps the gears turning.

May 27, 2009 02:22 PM #67
David Orsini (

That is a very unique idea.  By the way, Rock City is in fact a great place to see!

Jun 04, 2009 03:59 AM #68
valerie szymaniak - Boca Raton, FL

With so many homes languishing on the market today we DO need to 'think outside the box' especially when it comes to vacant homes. They are harder to sell even in good times. There is a 'win/win' marketing tool available. It's The website connects the vacant house with a live in stager who will furnish it and maintain it like a model home. The homeowner gets a fully furnished house and someone who will take care of the lawn and pool, etc. The agent gets a more marketable listing and one that will probaby sell faster and for a higher price than a vacant house. It's a great tool to offer your individual clients or banks with multiple vacant houses. The fee that is paid by the live in stager goes to the homeowner or the agent or can be split between the two. The website is new but the concept has been used successfully for over 20 years. You have to post the vacant house on the website in order to expose it to the live in stagers, but there is no cost to do that right now, so there's nothing to lose by trying it.

Jun 04, 2009 07:23 AM #69
Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES

That's a clever idea that I am sure didn't just come out of the box. I have never been to RockCity Richard. Thanks for sharing this Richard. Great post.

Sep 14, 2010 03:14 PM #70
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Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional
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