Advertising Words and Pictures
| February 21, 2012
While a well-written ad can pack a tremendous amount of punch, certainly in print mediums, pictures and logos may overshadow any words used—no matter how well-written those words are.
The Real Estate Council of Alberta’s Advertising Guidelines include the requirement that Alberta industry professionals clearly indicate the brokerage with which they are registered. Clearly indicated is taken to mean that a reasonable consumer under normal circumstances could clearly distinguish the name of a brokerage in an advertisement for an industry member registered with that brokerage. The advertisement should be unambiguous in stating the full name of the brokerage; including a brokerage logo or website address is not clearly indicating the brokerage name. A reasonable consumer should be able to identify the brokerage based on the advertisement.
Industry professionals can include other identifiers (franchise names, team names, a “brand”) in their advertisements, but it can only be in addition to the name under which they’re licensed and the name of the brokerage with which they are registered. As the number of teams and “brands” has grown within Alberta’s real estate industry, so has the number of websites that do not abide by the advertising guidelines, particularly with respect to representations, visual or otherwise, of a team or personal brand. (For information specifically relating to social media advertising and profile pages, check out this blog post from August.)
Having a team or brand logo is perfectly acceptable and in fact, is likely more common than not. But, that logo or brand cannot overshadow your brokerage name. Remember that in any medium you advertise and on any website you create, your brokerage name must be clear to a consumer based on that ad or website alone. And with respect to websites, every page within the site needs to have the brokerage name clearly indicated.
If someone visits your website and your personal brand/team logo takes up 25 per cent of the screen space, but you need a magnifying glass to find any mention of your brokerage, it’s safe to say your brokerage isn’t clearly indicated and the website could be confusing for a consumer vis a vis your personal brand or team logo and your brokerage.
The ability of consumers and other industry professionals to easily identify an industry member’s brokerage remains extremely important to the notion of consumer protection.