Is It Possible To Go Too Far When Using Video To Promote Property?

May 20th, 2016

TooFarDave in Perth sent me a link to this video of a property currently on the market in Hollywood Hills LA, just above Sunset Blvd and wanted to know, does this video go too far?

My opinion is, no, it has a little surprise that sneaks up on you at the end. But, the production of the video is very good. I think this is a very creative well-done property video. In fact it surprises me that it’s taken Realtors in the LA and Hollywood area to do this kind of video. We covered the PlatinumHD.tv crew in Brisbane doing much more shocking property video 5 years ago. Here are two examples: here and here.

PlatinumHD.tv has shown that this kind of property videos works. As I said back in 2011, This approach to marketing falls into the category of marketing and public relations P.T. Barnum is famous for summarizing with the quote, “I don’t care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.

What do you think, does this video go too far?

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25 Responses to “Is It Possible To Go Too Far When Using Video To Promote Property?”

  • I loved it but thought it was about 60 seconds too long. I got bored about halfway through.

  • Yowzer!!

    Best -er- Real Estate Video ever!

  • Too far? No. Too long? No. I have a feeling that it is just right for the target audience. It shows enough of the house to convey house and property, high tech and ambience. Probably will attract sellers and buyers alike. May limit the market but probably not the target market. I thinks it great. Now I have to see if any of my clients would be willing to shell out the Bucks necessary to make something along these lines crafted for their target market which would never be the one targeted by this ad. But the principle is the same.

  • I would imagine the potential buyer of this property would be more likely to come from a narrow band of people through networking etc, and would not necessarily be someone who just happens to view the video on the internet while looking for a home to buy. This is surely promoting the agent far more than the property, and I think it’s a pretty cool vid and will do that job nicely.

  • I’m sure this appeals to the excessive, over-the-top lifestyle of the rich and famous but not the average Joe. Personally, I also find it offensive and I think it would turn off a lot of potential buyers.

  • Meh. If you have to ask yourself the question “What are they trying to sell, the house or the girl?”, then it has gone too far.

  • In my humble opinion this video was not enough about the home.
    The woman took the viewer’s attention away from what the video was supposed to be about, the listing. I also didn’t see enough of the home itself.

  • After viewing the video, I thought that it was difficult to tell what, exactly, was being sold. To test this, I had someone watch it without telling them what it was about. After she viewed it, I asked her what the video was selling. Her responses were: “Perfume?”, “A car?” Then I told her it was the home. She was surprised, but then had a similar reaction to what both Peter and Matt expressed: perhaps it’s a good fit for the narrow, target audience.

    Larry’s original question is, “Is It Possible To Go Too Far When Using Video To Promote Property?”

    I don’t see that this video primarily promotes a property; I think it promotes a lifestyle which the home thoroughly supports.

  • Pfft ~ way overkill… but that is an awesome video presentation for the .99% / Creatively I LOVED it! … but a real estate video? Ehhh… but if I were selling in the Hollywood Hills, perhaps…. okay I really enjoyed it but would never produce it in Tampa.

  • Sorry to comment twice. A bit greedy of me. But video is new to real estate in comparison to stills and is just moving out of its infancy. But just like ads on TV where a lot of research is done to identify first the market for a product/service and then identifies what that market will respond to, this ad is aimed at a very special market and is designed for it. Well defined. It is not necessary to go after a wider market. And while some markets will need marketing aimed at information on the property and seeing all or most of the rooms, other marketing for other buyers (and sellers) will aim at “life style” strategy as Gary so astutely noted.

    There is no reason that there should be one size fits all when it comes to selling property. Nor is it necessary for a real estate video to identify itself as selling property when most likely it is going to be seen only by people who are already aimed at looking for real estate. So like the videos we have all seen featuring symbols of certain types of life styles like up market sports cars, elegant perfectly presented models in various states of dress, wine cellars bigger than my house, and more – you use visual symbols to match people’s views of themselves (or how they want to be perceived) with certain properties. Status. Heck, that’s why someone buys a Ferrari who lives in LA with 35 mph speed limits and when you never get out of 3rd gear even going over the speed limit on the freeways. It has nothing to do with driving and everything to do with how you want to be perceived. The same goes for property at every level.

  • I can recall countless highly-effective commercials for various items where the item itself was highly obscured by beautiful model(s) or other elements. Remember the SAAB commercials mainly showing jet pilots in order to suggest that the cars somehow had figurative jet-fueled technology in them? Or how about the “1984” Macintosh commercial? One of the most epic commercials ever made, with no clue of what it was or what it did. At this price point, what’s for sale is the lifestyle; the house is just the means to the end. There are plenty of people in Los Angeles with the budget to buy this house (currently priced at $12,500,000), who have the money but no idea how to have the life of frivolity and excitement depicted in the video. The most opulent features of the home (lap pool, wine room, huge closet/dressing area) were vignetted in the model’s daily activities. The “twist” at the end, in 2016, is hardly even a twist. It’s more of a cheeky observation of enduring (yet tired) societal expectations surrounding the “woman’s” role in a relationship and I think it actually does a great job of appealing to single women, unlike ads from many years ago that positioned them merely as an accessory to their husbands. Not to mention it was hardly that risqué or sexually charged. Would not every person greet their spouse this way on their anniversary? I’ll admit to assuming the driver of the approaching Lambo was a man, and it made me chuckle a bit when the door opened.

    Photographers Markus Klinko and Indrani had a show on Bravo called Double Exposure, where they shot a swimsuit ad for fashion designer Marlies Dekker at (if I recall) the famous Goldstein Residence here in LA. The theme that Marlies firmly communicated to them was that she wanted the photographs to reflect that it is “her” house (the model’s). That was very important to her in the marketing of her swimsuit line. I see the same thing happening in this video. The target audience for the video isn’t necessarily someone who is in the market for this home; it’s the people who will covet it and talk about it in a way that will make it all the more valuable to the actual buyer in the particularly over-valued state of LA’s real estate market.

  • I might be a bit old-fashioned but I find gratuitous sex and political-correctness selling real estate a little unnecessary and yes, even a little offensive. With that said, it was undoubtedly a well-executed video and will certainly appeal to the west coast market.

  • I’m curious why now two people in this thread have used the word “offensive” to describe this video. Robin, am I correctly gathering from your reference to political correctness that you find the same-sex partnership to be an offensive element of the commercial (please correct me if I am misreading)? If that’s the case, would you have felt the same way if it was an interracial couple? Larry Fields’s comment is more ambiguous and I can’t reasonably determine what he found offensive about it (Larry, please chime in if you are following the thread). The nudity is momentary and, in my opinion, not pornographic in nature. I mean, it’s a butt; we all have one. Granted, it wasn’t necessary to the plot, but I’m sure it kept a lot of people watching until the end of the video. Maybe living in LA for three years has desensitized me to this sort of thing (I am originally from a fairly conservative area of the Midwest), but I just don’t see the big deal.

  • LOVE IT. I’d of been disappointed with a the “typical” ending of “hard working guy” coming home. This one works for me.

  • Loved the production, thought it was really great… None of my agents wouldn’t try this style as they are concerned intimidating the female population of potential buyers. While I understand this I think the style has a time and place.

  • We can all debate whether or not this goes too far. Many had valid points.

    The fact remains… we are all talking about it.

  • I know 3rd time to comment but Larry has really put his finger on an interesting topic here. Rather than decide how my clients would react to any of these three videos, I sent the links directly to them for comment. One said “Wow! What a budget!” Another said “Disgusting! The one with the naked guy! But my secretary loved it!” The first one from from a broker under 30; the second from a broker just over 50. Could there be generational differences in reactions?

    But both agreed when we were discussing up coming shoots, that it very much comes down to how to market a property. Should the property itself be the star or should it play a secondary role to associated life style and have that lifestyle communicated via symbols, visual symbols. Nakedness for illustrating privacy, high end brand cars for status, large wine cellars for fine living and so on. An interesting discussion especially as video continues to become more and more demanded by sellers from their agents and brokers.

  • Take away the obvious storyline which is lame and you are left with the following issues:

    1. The production is terrible. white balance and exposure from room to room is terribly inconsistent.

    2. Basic videography skills at best

    3. realtor.org says 83% of viewers that watch real estate videos are watching them to see community lifestyle and location lifestyle. I see a LOT of people in this thread saying “it doesn’t show enough of the inside of the house. If you go by studies it shows too much of the inside of the property.

    4. shock value =/= gaining an emotional connection with a call to action. this totally missed the mark with a storyline that missed the mark.

    5. Too long – i showed it to 5 different people to ask opinion and all handed me back the iPad before they got to the end for the “big reveal”

    only 32% of viewers watch these videos to see the details of the property yet these type of videos get stuck on them. this is due mostly to the property owners having such an emotional investment in the property and their egos many times won’t let the agent/videographer shoot in a way that is more effective for the end user.

    I give this video a C-

  • Circa 90,000 views on YouTube suggests someone involved knows a bit about marketing/promotion, despite your scathing review Jonathan.

  • I followed this girl step by step, from waking up in bed, to Yoga class, then into the pool and, of course, in the bathroom, where my imagination gave way to cruel reality: she was going to take a really, really long shower… Things picked up again when she searched for a good wine (might have had some pointers for her there!) and climaxed between the chocolate lines of that impeccable, sweet anniversary cake. What house, what targeted audience? LA all the WAY. Granted, the video was too long, but it managed to keep you fixed on the subject and sex sells – what a shocker! – even in real estate. Surprisingly enough, people do live in those magnificent houses and have a style of their own. Jokes aside, I think there’s a time and place for everything. This might not have been the perfect production (white balance and all), some might call it a bit erotic, while others might just follow the trend with other cinematic ads. Not so provocative, but still edgy and free-spirited. We’ll just have to watch and see.

  • The video was epic, it told a story and did a great job at creating interest and lasting feeling. Too far? It’s 2016, there is nothing left to break.

  • @matt davis

    this has to be up for awards since we are judging content by number of views (55 million…must be awesome videography) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UWpNE5ElQE

  • Real estate videos are generally not produced for ‘entertainment’. Having a bunch of photographers, videographers and friends give their opinion of a video is really worth very little, since NONE of them are seriously interested in buying that particular house or even hiring that particular agent to market their own house. So the video is strictly a curiosity for all those making judgements – nothing more.

    Clearly people in different geographic areas find different types of video worthwhile. Some find showing “too much of the house” boring. If you’re NOT actually interested in buying the house, I totally agree.

    I am guilty of showing the house. I am guilty of making videos too long for the “so called experts” who have all the answers on how long they “should” be.

    Yet, with absolutely zero marketing in 11 years other than word of mouth and a website, I am booked out two weeks in advance for more than half of the year, have a waiting list daily for cancellations, and shoot 4-5 of these boring, “most people won’t watch them” videos every single day of the week. Oh, and my repeat business is 99.9%. So in an industry where agents are well known for not wanting to part with a buck for marketing, I have agents shell out $400-$500+ for these boring videos all day long, over and over again.

    My guess is if those long, boring videos WEREN’T selling houses and WEREN’T selling agents, then they would be using that money for something else instead of donating to my charity.

    So clearly many, many people are responding very positively to what most casual observers and corporate marketing “mucky mucks” would call “boring” and “too long” videos. My YouTube channel is nearing 3 million views with almost 4,000 subscribers! Someone is watching this stuff……

  • The videos are pretty slick. Personally I would want to see more of the house. The videos are part of the real estate agents branding. They are selling lifestyle (maybe even snob appeal). Nobody needs a 12 million dollar house. They create a buzz. The even bigger point is that it makes future home sellers want to have a similar cool video about their house. So a previous client is paying for marketing for future clients. That is their brand at work.

  • @Fred – you are right, it varies drastically regionally. And being one of these “so called experts” luckily my expertise works here 12 months a year. (we are lucky to have great weather for shooting year round) We have tons of repeat clients and it doesn’t take much to make it worth while for 2 people shooting 3-4 videos a week at $1500 or more per video to make doing it our way work. Oh yea – we not only don’t market but we don’t even have a website because we are so busy. We don’t have a youtube channel. I have never had a business card. So yes you are 100% correct in that different things work in different markets.

    There is also a HUGE benefit to making the videos “entertaining” my clients not only sell houses with them but they also draw attention to themselves with this entertainment and it helps them get new luxory listings.

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