Crescent of contempt

Crescent West, UBC, Vancouver

As the Robert Ledingham Collection at Stirling House proved with its “cutlery-love” campaign, marketing to rich people demands close-ups of objects that most of us consider trivial in the context of buying a home. Crescent West, a luxury development coming soon to UBC, revels in its fascination with the ridiculous. Never mind the 2,000+ square feet of the floor plans, the focus of Crescent West’s advertising is a pillow and a well-upholstered chair.

I wish today’s post could be as trivial as this ad and I could simply poke fun at the silliness of its imagery and messaging. But as I browsed through the Crescent West website, I found myself overcome with revulsion.

It all begins with a page about the project’s developers in which they are described as having “an absolute commitment to old-fashioned value” and “quality craftsmanship.” The copy goes on to describe their knowledge, skill and passion and how it has resulted in “landmark homes” across the Lower Mainland. It is a bold description.

Now look at this copy taken from another page on the very same website — a website, I might add, that appears to be a modest seven pages in size:

A serene, private place for restful and reflective moments. Or the warm and welcoming venue for entertaining guests. Whatever the day holds in store, your impecable [sic] home is at the centre of it all — and [sic] exquiste [sic] setting for your treasured possesions [sic]. Here are the light-filled interiors, open floorplans, innovative features, and flexible spaces you can define.

[A screen capture of this passage as published on the developer’s website is available here.]

Consider the audacity of this paragraph. It goes beyond the carelessness that we’ve become used to, moving into territory suggesting contempt for the reader. Hell, forget the paragraph. Just take that one sentence. Four extraordinarily obvious mistakes. All within the context of developers who pride themselves on quality. It is shameful.

At condohype, I’ve been very open that I do not provide real estate advice. I’ve never worked in construction and I have no knowledge of what it takes to build a proper home. But what I do know is that the marketing out there does not bode well for the industry. It suggests disregard, haste, and neglect.

Today, we’re in a era in which homes are sold before homes exist. The “pre-sale” is a defining element of the Vancouver housing market. In fact, it’s Bob Rennie’s claim to fame. When buyers are asked to commit to what’s likely the biggest single purchase of their lives, they have little more to consult than the developer’s marketing materials. So when a developer is so careless with his communication, what are we to think?

The marketer behind Crescent West is Platinum Project Marketing. The developer is Redekop Group.

10 Responses to “Crescent of contempt”

  1. debster Says:

    Let’s not forget “senior’s housing” and “further afield” from the website: it’s the New English for the New Economy – don’t forget, it’s different this time!

    The tour through cookie-cutter stock footage hell is a nice touch, too – when I want to see defining imagery touting the unique character of Wesbrook Place, why shouldn’t I see a close-up of blueberries?

    What was that quotation by Lincoln? It started with “You can fool some of the people all of the time…”

  2. scoop Says:

    I think this is meant to be a game – who can find the most typos.

  3. aetakeo Says:

    What? This is TXT MSG Hip. Poor spelling, bad grammer, and utter cliche is all the rage for the professorial set buying ‘exclusive’ homes at UBC. Didn’ja no? They’re showing their independence from MS Word’s spell check, that oppressive corporate communications hegemony.

  4. aetakeo Says:

    See? I’m doing it too! GrammAr, etc.
    You didn’t even have to pay me for my Hip Stylin’.
    Of course, I’m not particularly ‘exclusive’.

  5. dingus Says:

    I’m with ya. This sort of lame half-*ssed approach drives me absolutely bannanas.

    I confess — I used to write ad copy a long long time ago. Enjoyed it immensely. But I worked damn hard at it — honing and rehoning the text until it was perfect and razor sharp. A single typo that doesn’t get caught — it happens, particularly if late changes are rushed through. Failing to spellcheck your copy? Lazy and dumb. And as you say, it shows contempt for the reader — the client’s customers. The clients should be outraged — it reflects on them, ultimately. I wonder what they paid for it? Whatever it was, I’d do it for half and get it right.

  6. Real Estute Says:

    Condo Hype, as usual, an excellent commentary on this ad and how it relates to the big picture.
    My contribution to this comments section: Buyers don’t care about copy. All they care about is getting a piece of action; RE action. I bet Rennie could sell out a condo development by merely circulating a rumor. Imagine that.

  7. Grammar Police Says:

    Not to be too critical, but in the spirit of removing the log from your own eye, I’d recommend correcting the spelling on “well-apolstered chair”. 🙂

  8. condohype Says:

    Thanks GP.

  9. debster Says:

    bitter, while I agree in part with what you say, I believe the target market also includes those (literate English or otherwise) fearful of “being priced out forever” to such a degree that they will gloss over the spelling errors and specifics of an offering and simply make a decision to purchase in haste.

    Does haste from a different fear (“we better get these units on the market before sentiment turns”) explain the sloppy copywriting and grammar in ads such as these, or is it just plain sloppy? Only time will tell I suppose.

  10. Nicholas Says:

    I wish I could see the looks on the faces of these cretinous condo-buyers when they find that their ‘serene, private place for restful and reflective moments’ overlooks a nocturnal thoroughfare for carousing frat boys and first-years, some of whom — if I may speak from experience — are wont to hurl projectiles and effect random acts of destruction on the scintillating new towers of such unwanted, affluent intruders. Yes, ‘whatever the day holds in store’ indeed.

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