Sex Sells: An Amusing Idea, With a Point

This post by Joe Ferrara made me laugh out loud.  Seriously, I don’t know where Joe finds such interesting nuggets.  You want to check it out.  Don’t believe me?  Okay, here’s a peek:

Like I said, you want to check out the post.
Like I said, you want to check out the post.

For some reason, this reminded me of the rather interesting conversation that Joe, Jessie Beaudoin, and I think Jeff Corbett and Henry Davidson had at the ActiveRain party at Inman San Francisco.  If I’m forgetting anyone, it’s because of our mutual friend Jack‘s lingering influence.

Yes, the URL is parked courtesy of  I wonder who bought that…  (Jessie?  Was it you? 🙂 You did threaten to do just that at the party, hehe.)

The concept is simple.  It will be a direct analogue to (NOT SAFE FOR WORK).  Each listing is a ~60 second video in which an attractive woman talks about the property, while taking her clothes off.  I know that every single reader is going, “Are you insane?

The key to working is that it only deals with commercial real estate listings.

As much as I like and respect commercial real estate and the top-notch professionals who work in it… let’s face facts, shall we?  I don’t know that I’ve seen a more macho, more male-dominated industry outside of Wall Street trading floors in the early 90’s (and restaurant kitchens, incidentally).  Things that would shock the average corporate person happens all the time in the rough and tumble world of commercial real estate.

Therefore, would absolutely work in commercial real estate.  Consumers generally don’t look for commercial properties; only professionals do.  The vast majority of those professionals (CREW – Commercial Real Estate Women – says 23% of commercial brokers are women, but I think that’s a significant overestimation) are men, and men of a certain type, who would sit through a 60 second listings presentation simply because the presenter is stripping as she talks about column spacing and loading dock heights.

So you heard the idea here first. 🙂  You are hereby free to take advantage of it, as I have no desire to explain to my United Methodist Church pastor parents what I do for a living were I operating 🙂

Now, there is a serious point here.  Allow me to dig it up.

In marketing, especially in real estate marketing, there is a very serious tendency to focus on the product and the service provider (i.e., the agent).  But few real estate marketers think very hard about the audience.  Listings flyers are produced that betrays a real lack of thinking about whom said flyers are targeting.  One page rinky-dink flyers for a $15m alpine mansion is just one example.  Agents and brokers have websites that were obviously constructed from some off-the-shelf template from a cut-rate agency, yet they work and operate in high-end neighborhoods where the median family income is over $150,000 a year.

If can work, it’s only because it starts with identifying a specific audience segment that would be receptive to what is otherwise crass and offensive.  The Lush campaign that Joe Ferrara discussed might work because it did similar audience segmentation and identified a group that would respond to the sex-based marketing.

Think about the audience.  It is likely to be important.


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Rob Hahn

Rob Hahn

Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

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