An exchange of ideas

In the current scenario of “changing market conditions” the Westcoast Homes section isn’t reading like it used to. I find it pales in comparison to its former self, kinda like how A&B Sound used to be awesome but is now such a total embarrassment you almost feel bad for making fun of it.

Fortunately, there’s still the New Home Buyers Guide. The Guide is pretty much the Swank to Westcoast Homes’ Playboy: more explicit and more intense and without any notion of prestige. It’s hardcore condo pornography without pretense. Ads and content fit together seamlessly because they are one and the same.

Take this excerpt from the Guide’s write-up on Exchange, a “boutique” heritage conversion condo in Southeast False Creek:

Speechless, as my friends will zealously attest to, is not a word that’s often attributed to me. But when I catch my first glimpse of the Exchange display suite, I find myself succumbing to an unanticipated loss of words. Sure, the usual cliches come to mind — unique, exciting, even awesome. But Exchange is clearly something more, something utterly captivating and yes, utterly unique — really.

[Read the full article here.]

On its own, there’s nothing terribly wrong with this introduction, save for the author’s overuse of adverbs. (They are really, clearly, utterly unnecessary.) Where it falls apart is in how the rest of the article fails to live up to the intro. The beginning sets up the expectation that the condo is comparable to a religious epiphany of the highest order. As you read along you become more and more underwhelmed. The details that inspired the author’s “speechlessness” are a parade of disappointments: polished concrete, soft-closing drawers, and — wait for it — golden yellow cabinets.

You don’t have to be a discerning reader to know this article is one big pile of suck. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. I like the flow of the text and the structure of the sentences — the writer is a good writer. The problem, like most advertorial copy, is the content doesn’t match the argument. What we get is mindless, forgettable hyperbole. It doesn’t work.

Is it possible to market a condo without positioning it as the best thing in the history of humankind? Is there a way to be promotional and modest? I think so, and Vancouver condo marketing needs to figure it out.

7 Responses to “An exchange of ideas”

  1. Grumpus Says:

    This one is near my place and I’ve been watching it develop with some interest. It’s an old rugged brick building, excellent in itself, but they’ve certainly tried to yoke it with yuppiness. I think they also invented their own architectural era for it – “modern historical.” But then what do I know?

    That Dollarama dishcloth in the picture kind of takes the edge off.

  2. Carioca Canuck Says:

    We have that very same advertising publication which is masquerading as a “magazine” out here as well.

    I don’t know why they bother with printing different issues all the time…..the pictures are always the same….been seeing the same condos for sale here in Calgary for 2 years now.


  3. Carioca Canuck Says:

    Forgot to mention that the residual heat given of by the microwave and oven is going to peel back and bubble the faux wood trim on the cabinets.

  4. jesse Says:

    I never read these sections, I just look at the pictures. It’s nice to know someone’s arts degree is being put to use, though 🙂

  5. jeffjeffjeff Says:

    You’re right about A&B Sound. I went to buy some DVDs the other day– they’ve closed all the other floors and their DVD section is like 10 square feet at the back. I don’t know how they managed to run that company into the ground when Future Shop was opening 10 new stores a week for the past few years.

    I guess that’s a little OT but I used to love that place. 😦

  6. AvidFan Says:

    Condohype… A quick question if I may?

    A few of us have been wondering for a while what newspaper/magazine you work at? How is it that you have access to all the good artwork for these ads?

    You’re not scanning this stuff, or pulling it off of websites. For the most part, it looks like you’re generating your jpg’s directly out of PDF’s. How is it that you’re getting artwork from both NHBG and the Vancouver Sun? Just wondering…

    At any rate, the blog is funny stuff… Keep it up.

  7. condohype Says:

    Hi AvidFan. No problem with the question; in fact, you’re not the first to ask and I think one of your pals has asked before. 🙂

    In all cases, the ads come from publicly accessible sources on the Internet. I find them in JPEG format, so yes, they aren’t scans. They aren’t necessarily easy to find but they’re out there.

    As for obtaining ads by way of insider access, I don’t go for that. I like being an ethical blogger.

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