Faces of Real Estate
December 18, 2013 7:15 AM   Subscribe

Designer/Artist Phil Jones decided to do something to both honor and play with those ubiquitous real estate ads on bus benches seen in cities by recreating every photo of a realtor with a picture of himself, then pasting it over the originals. It's odd, amazing and Buzzfeed of all people has some followup with the artist.
posted by mathowie (39 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
The best part is that Phil Jones looks a lot more natural and appealing in his Sexy Richard Branson costume than Scott Parkin.
posted by griphus at 7:22 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Got to admire taking two different photos for that last one. That's commitment, that is.
posted by Etrigan at 7:26 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


These are strangely fun. Honestly, I've always found the glossy image realtors try to project to be very, very odd and off-putting.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:29 AM on December 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I so totally want to buy a house from that guy now.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:33 AM on December 18, 2013


Phil Jones previously.
posted by Toekneesan at 7:35 AM on December 18, 2013


Rita Marr: Mom. Value driven. Real estate agent.

I can't imagine a more useless tagline.
posted by davebush at 7:36 AM on December 18, 2013


Anything that covers up the pictures of Scott Parkin is a-OK by me. You might not think they are that creepy but I have seen them up close at the bus stop and that dude gives me the fantods.


Minneapolis has a history of real estate agent guerilla art projects.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:38 AM on December 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Those ads are expensive to run. They may be cheaper than some other forms of advertising, but they're not free, and this guy is interfering with their business. I'd be on the phone with my attorney, if my ad had been messed with.
posted by PigAlien at 7:38 AM on December 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's a weird feeling when you don't realize something is happening in your hometown until you recognize that BonJovi-through-vaseline look of Scott Parkin.
posted by Think_Long at 7:40 AM on December 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Again, one of the most famously recognizable real estate agents in the city gained such notoriety in no small part because of his frequently vandalized billboard.


Also, the images he placed over the ads were easy to remove.



And seriously anything that covers up the Scott Parkin picture can only be good.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:43 AM on December 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can't imagine a more useless tagline.

I'm not sure if this is a nationwide thing, but some bank in NYC has been putting up bus ads of people in business clothes looking positively delighted while doing non-businessy things -- cooking, playing sports -- all with the tagline "I'm not JUST a banker." I can only assume this was an attempt to humanize the profession after all that global economic collapse thing, but all I can think is wouldn't it have been a better idea to run "I'm a REALLY GOOD banker" ads instead?

...this guy is interfering with their business.

How? He left the contact info unaltered. If anything, he just got a bunch of realtors more press than they could otherwise afford.
posted by griphus at 7:45 AM on December 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I want to see Phil Dunphy's reaction.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:45 AM on December 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Mmm, public vandalism.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:53 AM on December 18, 2013


Urban luxury specialist is code for gigolo, right?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:54 AM on December 18, 2013


Urban luxury specialist is code for gigolo, right?

Pimp.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:59 AM on December 18, 2013


On one hand I had the same reaction as PigAlien but then the images he's covering up are so awful to begin with how would the average person know the difference. If anything, his images have a higher production value than the originals and make some of the ads look better.
posted by photoslob at 8:18 AM on December 18, 2013


this guy is interfering with their business.

I'm okay with making it less easy for people to select their agent for what will probably be the biggest single purchase of their entire lives based solely on what that agent looks like.
posted by Etrigan at 8:36 AM on December 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hey, that's in Funkytown! Wish I would have noticed.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:42 AM on December 18, 2013


The only thing noteworthy about this is the amount of effort the "artist" expended following through on his not-very-interesting idea.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:44 AM on December 18, 2013


I'm okay with making it less easy for people to select their agent for what will probably be the biggest single purchase of their entire lives based solely on what that agent looks like.

I don't know, I'm okay with people willing to do that getting a chance to do exactly that.
posted by corb at 8:58 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of the Chaz Walters Hot Property signs I saw all the time when I lived in Chicago. Whenever I passed a huge photo of his face with the words "Hot Property" directly underneath, I couldn't help thinking, "is this an 'adult' real estate agent?"
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:00 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aw, I posted it because I thought it was a harmless hilarious stunt. It's clear even residents of the town here on MeFi didn't even notice the change, so I don't think claims of vandalism or this negatively affecting their business hold much water.
posted by mathowie at 9:47 AM on December 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I couldn't help thinking, "is this an 'adult' real estate agent?"

52% of the country is single.
posted by cmfletcher at 9:53 AM on December 18, 2013


Honestly, I've always found the glossy image realtors try to project to be very, very odd and off-putting.

In the Denver/Boulder area in the early 90s, there was one realtor who had a series of radio ads in which she talked about how she "resonates to great poetry" and liked to "walk through the trees and talk to the rocks". Her agency tagline was "the poets of Colorado real estate".

I never did find out if there were any bodies in her crawlspace.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:57 AM on December 18, 2013


blue_beetle: "Mmm, public vandalism."

It's the only sort that matters!
posted by Mister_A at 10:03 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it's harmless though not necessarily hilarious, but I don't know why it would be odd or bad for people to have their picture on their realtor ad. It's part of their brand identity, and you usually find brand identities represented in ads.
posted by sweetkid at 10:05 AM on December 18, 2013


Around here in Oregon, there's one person in town that goes the extra mile and I swear uses a full on Glamor Shots style portrait like you'd see in the 1980s on all her listings. It's got the soft focus, the teased out hair and makeup -- it's really kind of extraordinary. If someone were to replicate it, that would be pretty spectacular.
posted by mathowie at 10:10 AM on December 18, 2013


Honest question: Why do real estate agents do this? I am not evaluating my agent selection based on looks. I just don't understand.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 10:53 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's probably so ingrained into real estate ads now that it's become the language of the ads - you could spot a real estate ad with blurred vision at a hundred yards, honestly - and if you don't do that Name/Contact Info/Tagline/Picture horizontal layout thing you won't catch the eye of anyone looking for real estate ads.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:59 AM on December 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why do real estate agents do this?

I think it's just to be "eye catching". You see these bus benches on the sides of crowded highways, where there are a million signs and people walking around, I think the giant head of someone is supposed make you stop in your tracks and notice/write it down?
posted by mathowie at 11:00 AM on December 18, 2013


Honest question: Why do real estate agents do this? I am not evaluating my agent selection based on looks. I just don't understand.

I think Jason Steakums has part of it. But it's also part of the gig --- agents are independent contractors, and a big part of their gig is doing a lot of hand-holding and reassuring during a high-stress event for a lot of people. Being able to project warmth and trustworthiness are big assets in that field.

Of course, the more hard numbers metrics that the more logically driven and mathematically capable among us might prefer to use when selecting an agent are treated as jealously guarded trade secrets. Just in the past month there was a bit of a tempest in a teapot about Realtor.com testing a web app that displayed sale to list price ratios and number of listings recently sold in a particular neighborhood in order to help consumers pick an agent. There was a huge backlash from agents and Realtor.com caved and pulled the app last week.
posted by Diablevert at 12:55 PM on December 18, 2013


I'd be on the phone with my attorney, if my ad had been messed with.

People deface these things constantly. This one is at least kinda funny and not, like, a penis drawn in Sharpie or a bunch of skate shop stickers and tags. Also having been in university at the end of the 90s/early 2000s seems to have resulted in implanting a copy of an old adbusters in some seldom-used part of my brain because this comment made me think about "culture jamming" and how that was a thing the kids were doing once.
posted by Hoopo at 1:27 PM on December 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mmm, public vandalism.

Look at arson - I mean, how many of us can honestly say that at one time or another he hasn't set fire to some great public building. I know I have.
posted by greenhornet at 1:55 PM on December 18, 2013


Mathowie, I think I saw what you're talking about! It was kind of vaseline-lensed and she had enormo-poofy blonde hair, right? And there was a reddish-pink background? And for some reason Santino Rice was there? Oh no wait, shit, I'm thinking of the first season of RuPaul's Drag Race, my bad.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:59 PM on December 18, 2013


Honest question: Why do real estate agents do this? I am not evaluating my agent selection based on looks. I just don't understand.

You should be.
posted by Quilford at 3:18 PM on December 18, 2013


mathowie: "Around here in Oregon, there's one person in town that goes the extra mile and I swear uses a full on Glamor Shots style portrait like you'd see in the 1980s on all her listings. It's got the soft focus, the teased out hair and makeup -- it's really kind of extraordinary. If someone were to replicate it, that would be pretty spectacular."

My brother-in-law's dad puts up signs for agents; he has a warehouse full of signs which also houses my Impala. Consequently, I've seen rows and rows of signs, including different iterations for the same agent, from year to year or if they change agencies. There are at least two agents in St. Louis that have Glamour Shots. There's a third that may be satire of glamour shots, but it's hard to tell earnestness from satire in this case.
posted by notsnot at 6:16 PM on December 18, 2013


I'm not sure if this is a nationwide thing, but some bank in NYC has been putting up bus ads of people in business clothes looking positively delighted while doing non-businessy things -- cooking, playing sports -- all with the tagline "I'm not JUST a banker." I can only assume this was an attempt to humanize the profession after all that global economic collapse thing, but all I can think is wouldn't it have been a better idea to run "I'm a REALLY GOOD banker" ads instead?

Banking!
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:22 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


We had a realtor in our neighborhood who would leave a scratch pad with her mug on it and it was a train wreck. The photo looked like it was a teacher yearbook photo from a bygone age when even then the hair and glasses would have been strikingly bad. I always rather enjoyed them and was taken aback when in her last year she revamped her photo and no longer looked schoolmarm iwj but looked cute and fun in a Hawaiian shirt no less. I felt like she had been taking the piss all this time...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:07 AM on December 19, 2013


Honest question: Why do real estate agents do this? I am not evaluating my agent selection based on looks. I just don't understand.

You should be.


Yeah, well the causal arrow may be in a different direction. The article correlates attractiveness to home listing prices, which may only reflect that higher-priced home sellers are selecting their agents in part based on attractiveness.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:57 AM on December 19, 2013


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