Archive for September, 2007

Ultralina Jolie

September 24, 2007

Ultra Urban Village Surrey

What happens when a condo ad designer has a fetish for Angelina Jolie but doesn’t have the budget to hire the real Girl Interrupted? Before you can say scrap the concept, somebody goes off and finds a look-alike.

This is the story of Ultra Urban Village, a “futuristic” new high-rise condo coming soon in “the new heart” of Surrey. It’s a text-book case of condo marketing stupidity that privileges a near-glimpse of a woman’s crotch over actual information about the property for sale.

Oh, condo marketers, why do you keep doing this to yourselves?

Please. Make my blogging difficult.

The price of priceless

September 19, 2007

Sheerwater Kelowna

Noticed a few fewer scooters in the real estate ads lately? Yeah, me too. One of the big shifts in Vancouver condo marketing is the emphasis on “recreational retirement properties” from outside the Lower Mainland.

I’m an urban guy and I like to keep an urban focus but the marketers have so heavily infested the Vancouver media with ads for “heartland” properties that I have no choice but to start making fun of them.

Sheerwater is a gated lakefront community in Kelowna. The developer is an outfit called The Mission Group. It’s unclear if their marketing is done in house, or if a hired gun has been brought on board to finish the score.

Not that that really matters. Only a true real estate marketer could have the courage to call a property both “priceless” and “starting at $750,000.” Yeah, thanks for the heads-up on that. Good thing to know priceless has a price.

And what’s with the Rob Lowe dude on the boat? It’s Westbank not West Wing, fellas. Forget appealing to the young urban professionals whose resumes include time serving under President Bartlet. Oh, what, I’m supposed to see a tie-in to the lakefront because Lowe’s character was named Seaborn? Give it up.

Cooling the heat of the hype

September 17, 2007

City Point Surrey

I can’t help but wonder if the humiliation Platinum Project Marketing Group has suffered because of this blog has influenced the way they do business. Their most recent condo marketing work — like this campaign for City Point as well as another Surrey project called Morgan Crossing — is much more restrained than what we’ve seen in the past.

Don’t get me wrong, the exuberance is still there but it’s far less interested in being totally outrageous. For example, this ad for City Point with its basic negative-art design and limited use of adjectives, is near revolutionary in its tameness. At least by Platinum standards anyway.

Remember, it was only a few months ago that saw Platinum pitching the d’Corize condo in crime-plagued Whalley as a “majestic landmark” in Central Surrey’s “most desirable neighbourhood.”

I’m happy to see Platinum layoff the superlatives for City Point even though it makes it harder for me to make fun of them. At the end of the day, it’s always good to see the condo marketers learning from their mistakes. (Granted, there is something funny about Central Surrey being positioned as the “hottest condo market” even though the real estate sales numbers probably back that up as truth.)

Wait, a second — condo marketers learning from their mistakes?! Could it really be true? Wowsers. What’s next, a market crash?

Fingers crossed, bears.

Trashing Tamarind Westside

September 14, 2007

Tamarind Westside

This ad for the Tamarind Westside condos in Abbotsford has it all. It really does. Bad fonts and bad copy. Mention of an investment opportunity. Priority pre-registration. Flowers. A woman having an orgasm in an open field.

The condos might start at $119,900 but this marketing is priceless.

What’s the deal behind the Tamarind Westside? Here’s the story straight from the project’s official website copy:

Tamarind Westside is a hip enclave of 188 unique, urban-style condos tucked away in a private corner of a contemporary neighbourhood on the west side of Abbotsford.

The location offers conveniences at your doorstep with amenities just a quick stroll away — including a fitness centre, Starbucks, and a diverse array of other vibrant restaurants and businesses.

The freeway access is incredible… just a one minute commute to the Mt. Lehman interchange and you’re on your way!

Hip enclave? Urban-style? Starbucks as an amenity? Wow, I don’t even have to write a punchline this is such comic gold.

My personal favourite?

“One minute commute to the Mt. Lehman interchange.”

I thought Rennie gave us big laughs with one minute from Vancouver. Sorry King Bob. You just lost the comedy crown.

Incontestably useless marketing

September 10, 2007

Sky Towers Surrey

There’s an old saying about censorship that says nothing gets sales going like a good book-burning. In the context of condo marketing, I’d bet the same holds true. If the condo marketers got together and torched all the condo writing style guides, dictionaries, and thesauruses, we could very well see an increase in unit sales.

Put another way, I can’t see sales getting any worse. The language of the condo marketers has moved so far into the realm of ubiquity that toothpaste copy seems insightful by comparison.

Consider this “information” for the new Sky Towers condo in Surrey:

Unprecedented opportunity arrives in Central City. Sky Towers proudly boasts the best location and the best views in one of the Lower Mainland’s fastest growing urban communities. In fact, the City of Surrey has experienced a YTD rental vacancy decline of 1.9% and is forecast to develop at nearly twice the rate of Vancouver in the coming years. With abundant shopping, appealing restaurants and the incontestable convenience of the King George SkyTrain station only steps outside your door, both the smart home buyer and the smart investor can agree that an opportunity like this is rare.

The Sky is no longer the limit, it’s just the beginning.

Yeah thanks for coming out. That last part feels like it’s fresh off the box of a Dolph Lundgren video or maybe a Disney flick about a dog that’s good at playing Ultimate.

When selling a new condo in Surrey, a city bursting with new condo development, how is there any value in using words like “unprecedented” and “rare” to describe it? Same goes for this business about “smart” investors. How is this useful? Easy! It isn’t. Marketers know this, buyers know this — yet it’s there, forever wasting our time.

It’s all useless, completely and entirely.

No, I am not a nihilist.

Taste of Ginger

September 5, 2007

Ginger Chinatown Living

What better way to celebrate Labour Day than to reflect on the “work” put into the marketing for the Ginger condos in Vancouver. This is a development, as the developer puts it, of “zesty homes in Chinatown, a playground rich with history, bustling with energy and loaded with worldly pleasures.”

That this ad is themed around exoticism and food shows the limited imagination of marketers when it comes to “ethnic” marketing. This brand is superficial at best, bigoted at worst. They might as well take it one step further and give a discount if you own a Jeep Cherokee.

Could there not be a different way of thinking about Chinatown beyond cliches about the piquancy of Chinese cuisine?

Let me put it this way. Would you think it appropriate to brand a condo Tandoori? How about Gefilte? You see where I’m going.

Congratulations, Porte Development Corp. You just got your first taste of condohype. Now what’s that you say about liking it spicy?