Archive for March, 2008

Happy birthday condohype

March 28, 2008

Vancouver Magazine | April 2008

If all writers are like me, they tend to find validation of their work in two places. The first comes from having readership, the second from garnering praise. I’ve been fortunate to have both all in a span of a year.

This week, condohype celebrates its first birthday. Many of us in the local condo blogosphere got a gift today in the form of feature coverage in Vancouver Magazine. In my case, this blog was singled out as a leader on the topic of Vancouver condo real estate.

It’s encouraging to see the mainstream media take notice. There are more voices than those of Rennie, Jurock or Muir. For every one of them, there’s a Solipsist, Mohican or The Pope — all of whom provide opinions worthy of being heard.

As for me, I am happy that you, dear reader, keep coming back. Whether you read because you like it, read because you hate it, or read because you’re cheap and I’m cheaper than paying a consultant — yes, developers, we notice you change your ads after they’re lampooned — it makes no difference to me. It’s lovely to have an audience. I thank you for your interest, no matter what your motivation.

So that’s my two cents, 365 days later. What’s yours? Here’s your chance to share your feedback and tell me what you really think. Do you have a favourite post? Do you have a least favourite? Is the writing what you want it to be? Am I fair in my satire? Am I a hack or the real deal? Would you be willing to pay me to not write about your condo? (I accept cash.) Good or bad, give it up.

I’ve got a $10 Starbucks card for the author of the most thoughtful, well-written comment.

Bob Rennie is offering love

March 19, 2008

1212 Howe

We’re eleven months away from Valentine’s Day but this means nothing to Bob Rennie, Vancouver’s king of condo marketing and master guru behind 1212 Howe. Themed to a bouquet of roses, the condo carries the tagline “good things come in 12’s.”

Allow me a moment to get a glass of water. I need to cool off.

Now, beyond the promiscuous “dozen lovers” theme — visits to the clinic are sure to follow — there doesn’t seem to be much to this brand. Was Bob too busy with his BC Business interview to give this campaign the full love it deserves? OK, I’m pushing it, but you’ve gotta wonder about the amount of effort going into a brand like this. Heck, they even went cheap on the website music.

Recognize that grüvy tune?

Homer + Helmcken Redux

March 17, 2008

Homer + Helmcken

Faster than you can say “receivership,” the penthouse pads at Homer + Helmcken are on the market, ready to usurp the maximum of your 40-year mortgage dollars. It was only late last month when the original developer performed condo seppuku, leaving receiver Bowra Group to address the mess. Naturally, this means an ad in the paper and a website punched up with the sounds of condo pop.

The rebranding of H+H, at least for right now, is penthouse-only. Bowra refers to H+H’s target demographic as “Penthouse enthusiasts” — much to my personal amusement. Did somebody say money shot?

Max out your credit

March 13, 2008

Max on 150

If Kitsilano’s Lady Pulse wasn’t your kind of condo hottie — I admit, her watermelon fetish kinda creeped me out — perhaps you’d fancy a date with her more suburban strata sister? If so, grab yourself a three-zone bus ticket and make your way to Guildford Mall — you’ve got a date with Max.

Max is a girl of “elegance and style” brimming with “heady urban energy” beneath those sexy shades. For Max, life is all about “lap[ping] up the urban dynamics” of the Surrey lifestyle. Max enjoys single-occupancy vehicles, long walks across parking lots and is big into commitment — especially the 25- and 40-year variety. If long-term relationships aren’t your thing, Max is open to flipping. She’s a modern girl, after all.

Oh, one thing about going out with Max. When it comes to paying the bill, be sure to bring your VISA. No matter what happens, you’ll be paying in full.

You can’t afford to buy this

March 10, 2008

The Grove at Victoria Hill

According to The Rules of Typography, boldface text is to be used sparingly. “Reserve boldface for items that can be set entirely in bold, and avoid mixing with normal, or non-boldface, text,” says the typo rule-maker.

In this ad for The Grove at Victoria Hill in New Westminster, we find a fascinating use (or misuse) of bold in the headline. The hard-hitting “You can’t afford to miss this opportunity!” curiously draws attention to the lack of affordable housing in Greater Vancouver. The spin here is that Onni wants you to see its $265,900 one-bedroom as affordable. Yet, there’s something peculiar about the bolding of those words. It’s as if the ad designer, all but certainly priced out of the market, is screaming at the reader in a final subversive act to raise awareness of housing cost insanity.

Finally, a condo ad that sees the forest for the trees.

Brio not so Grande

March 7, 2008

Brio Abbotsford

If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around, does it make a sound? This is a classic philosophical riddle that you’ve probably pondered at one time or another. Heck, if you studied philosophy you may have even used it as a pickup line.

Today I adapt the riddle for the Vancouver condo market. Here goes:

If Coal Harbour comes to Abbotsford and nobody cares, what happens to your pre-sale condo?

Answer? You don’t get the condo. Well, that might not be the whole story behind Brio in Abbotsford but it’s the gist of it. Like a few local condos of late, this one just didn’t work out and the developer’s decided to put things on hold. Take a break, as a soon-to-be ex-girlfriend/boyfriend might say.

What a shame. Who would’ve thought that million-dollar pricing and “New York-style amenities” wouldn’t catch on with the locals?

Oh, wait. Abbotsford. This makes sense.

Solo stands alone

March 4, 2008

Solo | Maple Ridge

This ad for Solo in Maple Ridge is a throwback to the heyday of Vancouver condo marketing; you know, back when all ads were cringe-inducing abominations that championed the worst of what the Lower Mainland has to offer. Like, OK, we get it folks: Greater Vancouver is a great place to play golf, enjoy nature, and throw surprise birthday parties for all your favourite urban professional friends.

What is actually being sold here? Is there anything about Solo that stands out from every other skybox under the Lotusland sun? From the website copy:

Imagine a city where mountains, forests, rivers and streams are at your doorstep. A destination where modern-day business amenities rub shoulders with a history that is fascinating and rich. A place that’s conveniently accessible, but one who’s beauty makes it difficult to leave.

There’s lots to tear into in that passage, but I’ll limit myself to the bit about modern-day business amenities “rubbing shoulders” with a rich and fascinating history. Somebody want to tell me what anyone is supposed to make of this? The best thing I can come up with is the thought of a Staples store as host venue for a masturbation conference.

My apologies if that’s crude but the condo is named Solo.