Courting Controversy in Your Ads Image

Courting Controversy in Your Ads


We all know the basic (but extremely important) advertising rules. Include your brokerage. Include your full name. Ensure both are clear. And ensure there is nothing false or misleading. As long
as you do that, you probably won’t find yourself in breach of Rules relating to advertising.

But what about advertising that may be controversial for other reasons?

Sex sells. But does it sell real estate? Should it sell real estate? In early-2010, a local developer used a suggestive ad with a woman in a short skirt and long legs to advertise a new high-rise condo building. The advertisement made the news with some members of the publicsaying it was tasteless and offensive. Of course the advertisement – and the controversy surrounding it – generated some free publicity for the development. Did it help sell units? Hard to say. Did it get people talking? Definitely.

There are other ads that court controversy and they have nothing to do with sex. Just last week a Barrie-area real estate professional used an ad that made light of the fact the property was next door to a bomb-filled Barrie home. Her ad offered an “explosive deal” for buyers. The ad was sent to local media by a community member with the message that it was in poor taste.

Not only would some people disagree that it was in poor taste, some would likely even think it was a brilliant piece of creative advertising.

What do you think? Do “controversial” ads for real estate bother you? Does sex sell?