Tuesday, February 14, 2006


I don’t advertise very much. That's a luxury of being very small and working with a limited number of clients. I quit trying to impress people by paid advertising years ago. I used to (paid money to look impressive) when I owned a large Coldwell Banker agency in Southern California. I could easily spend $10,000 a week in advertising homes for sale with very limited results. All brokers know that advertising in newspapers is a waste of money but they continue to do so because it is expected by their sellers and their need to look impressive. Actually, 75 percent of all home buyers never look at a home ad in a newspaper. They go right to the Internet and why not, when they can see exterior and interior pictures of not just the one home for sale but look and compare all of them.

Advertising for most companies is more institutional than product driven. Companies with large full page display ads don’t really expect to sell any one of the many houses they are advertising from the advertisement. They are really advertising their size and company benefits. Have you noticed that most agents’ pictures take up more valuable advertising space than does the information about the property they are trying to sell? It’s an ego thing seeing your smiling face in the newspaper each week. It may impress some clients but it doesn’t sell the property which they were hired to do.

There were some great ads during the super bowl. Just because I liked the ad didn’t make me run out to buy their product. Some ads are difficult to understand the message.

A couple of doctors stand above a hospital patient watching a bug fly around the room. One grabs the heart paddles normally used to jump-start a person's heart and instead zaps the bug. The patient's wife and daughter then arrive to see the doctor holding the paddles in the air and proclaiming, "That killed him." The message: "Don't judge too quickly" from Ameriquest Mortgage in a commercial airing during last nights big game.

We assume the company is talking about consumer credit histories, since it specializes in subprime lending, offering higher-cost loan products to people who generally can't qualify for a "prime" loan because of their splotchy credit. There's a deeper message here when you consider recent news surrounding this company: In late January, Ameriquest finalized a $325 million settlement of allegations that it deceived borrowers, falsified loan documents and pressured appraisers to overstate home values. So we should try not to judge too quickly?


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