Consumers can expect to see a lot more WeWork ads in the future. The 9-year-old real estate brand, which rents out co-working spaces, filed paperwork Wednesday for its initial public offering. In the filing, filled out by parent company the We Company, WeWork wrote that it expects to lay into more “traditional” marketing as it strives to move beyond the word-of-mouth referrals that have built up its reputation in recent years. In the past, such referrals from existing members have kept marketing costs low, the New York-based brand disclosed.
“To the extent that we are unable to maintain a positive brand reputation organically, we may need to rely more heavily on traditional marketing efforts to attract new members, which would increase our sales and marketing expenses in both absolute terms and as a percentage of our revenue,” reads the 130-page filing, which references marketing 113 times.
For the six months that ended June 30, WeWork’s $320 million investment in sales and marketing represented 21 percent of the brand’s revenue, up from 18 percent in the year-earlier period when the company spent just $139.9 million on such expenses. For the first six months of this year, WeWork generated $1.5 billion in revenue, more than double that of the same period in 2018.
Despite the huge uptick in revenue, the company also disclosed a hefty loss of $1.9 billion last year—a similar experience had by other high-profile tech brands that have recently gone public despite a lack of profitability.