Archive for the ‘Onni’ Category

V6A: No condo for this postal code

October 24, 2008

The winds of change are upon us. CTV News hit hard last night with an explosive report on the Vancouver condo bust. Their reveal is that Onni’s V6A, the “There-is-life-outside-of-Yaletown” condo, is postponed indefinitely.

This might not seem like big news with all the projects stalled in recent weeks. Like Cosmo, Sky Towers and the Ritz-Carlton Vancouver, V6A is yet another victim of condo market excess. What makes V6A’s story spectacular is the attitude of the developer. Despite telling CTV News the project is on hold without a completion date, Onni is keeping the sales centre open to unsuspecting buyers. Here’s how Onni vice-president Beau Jarvis describes his rationale in an interview with reporter Shannon Paterson:

Jarvis: We’re postponing the project until the market changes. We’re not going to go build a project and have no one to sell it to.

Paterson: Why is the pre-sale office still open and still selling?

Jarvis: Well, uh, is that against the law? We’re still testing the market I guess, right?

Paterson: So someone who would’ve walked in there today would have no idea that what they were buying into has been put on hold?

Jarvis: That could’ve been the case, yeah.

Paterson: Is that going to change?

Jarvis: It probably will change.

Outside of saying “Don’t buy this condo, it’s garbage” I don’t know what else Onni could’ve said to so undermine its interests. What’s a prospective buyer to make of this confession? ‘Hi, we’re Onni. Let us take your deposit but fail to mention we have no plan to build anything. Have a great day.’

If Onni is interested in submitting a response, I’d be willing to post it.

Why I write condohype

June 16, 2008


Responding to my previous post, reader Paul argues that this blog has a role in making a positive contribution to the craft of condo marketing. In his view, our critiques of advertising should be free of biases such as “hating the market, feeling priced out, hating Yaletown, density, etc.” While I do not agree with Paul’s advice, his challenge brings up a larger question: What’s the point of condohype?

In simple terms, condohype is a satirical commentary. Through the blog, I attempt to deploy irony, sarcasm and wit — basically all the goodies in the humourist’s toolbox — to lampoon the hell out of Vancouver condo marketing. I’ve chosen this target because it’s so perfectly emblematic of what’s wrong with Vancouver. Think about it, what better symbol than the Vancouver condo ad with its celebration of arrogance, narcissism and indifference?

These ideas manifest themselves not only in the content of the ads but also in their construction — by way of typos, errors and an aversion to good design. I attack these “mistakes” not because I take pleasure in nitpicking, but to call attention to the gargantuan bluff that defines the industry. When the market tanks and all is revealed, my commentary comes to an end.

To return to Paul’s point about making a good contribution, I believe condohype is and always has been a positive blog. Condohype takes the real and widespread angst about the crisis of affordable housing and channels it into comedic expression. This makes the writing fun to read for the broadest possible audience — which also means getting the word out to the broadest possible audience. From the single college grad feeling priced-out to the developer looking to learn the trash talk about their condo, this blog has a little something for everyone.

As for what “good” real estate marketing looks like, well, some firms do it better than others. On the basis of its colour scheme and defined target audience, Onni’s ad for V6A deserves some respect. The copy is a weak point though, especially the last three sentences. “Stake your claim in Vancouver’s most up-and-coming urban environment. The time is right to make your move. Don’t wait until it’s too late.”

I mean, really, who needs this crap? That’s five seconds of my life I’m never getting back.

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.