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Instagram Influencers Are Marketing Chicago Condos

Snap-happy millennials are pushing more than just food and fashion — they’re helping change the city’s skyline.

Last spring, Chicago social media star Shai Chung (@drunkonshoes) perched on the edge of a marble bathtub in the showroom of the new ultraluxe residential tower 1000M, where potential buyers can browse finishes and features. Wearing sunglasses and Givenchy booties, she sat for a few photos for the tower’s Instagram feed and her own followers (now 43,000).

Pricey new condo and apartment buildings are capitalizing on social-media-fueled FOMO to build buzz, in some cases before they even break ground. Real estate mailers don’t appeal to millennial targets — but painstakingly glitzy Instagram images do, which is why buildings are inviting both internet influencers and potential buyers to pose. 1000M is even compensating the influencers to share snaps but declined to say how much.

“We’ve had countless photos taken of [potential buyers] in the bathtub,” says Nancy Lerner, cofounder of Otherwise, a branding agency that maintains the Instagram account for 1000M. Just a few weeks before Chung’s balancing act, influencer Laura Platt McParlan (@bright_beautiful) posed with that same tub, which has shown up in the feed five times since last summer. Everything in the feed, Lerner says, adheres to the building’s mantra: “Seek beauty.” Indeed, the most popular pics are aspirational: renderings of the building and its amenities, like a Himalayan salt room. In other words, it’s a feed that’s catnip to design-savvy, wellness-happy millennials.

Photo: Courtesy of 1000M



1000 S. Michigan Ave.

Archetypal post:Chung and the marble bathtub


Vista Tower
Photo: Nick Ulivieri

Vista Tower


345 E. Wacker Dr.

Archetypal post:Aerial views of the under-construction building


One Bennett Park
Photo: Courtesy of One Bennett Park

One Bennett Park


451 E. Grand Ave.

Opening:Now, though some units aren’t finished yet
Archetypal post:Portraits of artists, like Nick Cave (pictured), whose work is displayed in the lobby



1200 S. Indiana Ave.

Archetypal post:A dramatically lit snap of the indoor basketball court


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