As the potential buyers filed into the open house in Southern California, they gasped in surprise. Instead of the traditional empty residence with a few pieces of tastefully arranged furniture, they discovered a family baking a cake. Like the tastefully arranged furniture and the cake in the oven, the family was part of the staging of the Centex model home in Santa Clarita, Calif. -- completely fake. A public relations firm had hired actors to enact the skit. "There were a few moments of surprise and confusion," said Jim Garfield of California property public relations firm Roddan Paolucci Roddan, the company that created the concept. "But once people caught on, there was an embracing of the moment." Indeed. Dressed in casual jeans, former "Baywatch" lifeguard Jaason Simmons, 35, pos...
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