Video marketing and virtual tours have become one of the most significant pieces of the real estate marketing puzzle. A few years back, they were more of a novelty, but have moved into the must-have category. Today’s technology has allowed these productions to become both easier to produce and in most cases have become cost effective. If crafted correctly, a well-produced virtual tour may separate the serious inquiries from the “tire kickers.”

A well-produced virtual tour will include panoramic and 360-degree pictures (you can’t have too many pictures), should be easy to navigate and include a well-rehearsed audio, if narrated, or music in the background. Remember, your goal is to keep a captive audience. The length of the video in my opinion is critical. Too long and you’ll lose them. A couple minutes should be more than enough time to create the story of the home.

I’ve seen my share of both great and not so great virtual tours. Nothing surprises me today until I saw this.

Warning! This video is four and a half minutes long and contains scenes that might offend some viewers.

Do I have your attention now? It’s imperative to watch the entire video and then continue reading this article.

Are you kidding me? Is this even slightly suitable for marketing real estate? What is the agent trying to sell?

OK, maybe I’m a little narrow-minded, but I have never seen anything like this before.

I had a difficult time understanding the message behind the opening scene and honestly wouldn’t have known I was watching an ad to sell a home if I hadn’t watched the entire video. The only reason I watched the video is because a colleague of mine called it to my attention. Other than that, I was extremely confused by the message being delivered until the very end.

I decide to reach out to the listing agent, Patrick Raymond, co-owner of Raymond and Associates and producer of this video. Prior to his real estate career, Raymond spent 20 years in marketing, eight of the 20 years specifically as the creative art director for an ABC and NBC affiliate in California that produced high-end commercials.

Raymond said this home was not for “older buyers” due to the multi-levels and numerous stairs. His emphasis was on the young female audience. Raymond said his focus was “spot-on” as he received numerous inquiries, even from buyers who stated upfront that this home is above their price range but wanted to see it based solely on the video. He also said that most women asked if the male talent in the video comes with the house.

I was surprised by the opening shot and asked Raymond what value the bra and naked people on the bed brought to his video. He said, “simply to get the attention of the viewer.” Well, he got my attention, that’s for sure. What about yours?

He says he received only one negative comment. This viewer thought they were watching a pornographic video, not an ad to sell a home. (You think?) Most of the comments, including those attached to the video itself, are indeed positive. Go figure.

Raymond says he’s always looking to be on the cutting edge and tries to produce something much different than your basic virtual tour. Plus, he says he was selling more of the lifestyle of California’s central coast than the home itself. As for the length of the production, he knew it was on the long side — most of his videos are two to three minutes.

I was curious about the seller’s take, and Patrick says the seller was thrilled with his creativity, and the owner said the home was never marketed this way by the two prior agents. The seller participates in a dozen separate videos following Patrick’s production that explain the home in more detail.

I forwarded this video along to clients of mine who are in the target demographic. “It starts off a bit tacky, the bra on the guy’s shoulder is unnecessary innuendo … One can assume if two attractive adults are naked in bed, it was likely a romantic evening without the addition of lingerie lying about. The house is really nice, but some of it is lost on the two attractive people walking around with few clothes on,” a male client said. His wife says, “It’s just weird. There’s too much sexual innuendo, and it all detracts from the house”.

My colleagues who brought this video to my attention feel that this is a bit of stretch when it comes to marketing real estate. Some were very insulted, and others felt it was unprofessional.

Am I a bit too sensitive, or do you agree with me when I say that I would never even think of marketing a home by exploiting sex rather than the home itself?

I’m asking you, the Inman subscribers, for your opinion.

Would you produce a video of this nature to showcase a lifestyle and few features of the home? Please continue the conversation in the comments section below.

Steve Weiss has been a real estate professional since 1986 and a licensed Broker in California since 1999. Throughout his career, Steve has been a leader in the real estate profession, serving as President of the Scenic Coast Association of REALTORS® and participated with various committees including Ethics and Professional Standards. See was also an instrumental member of the California Association of Realtors Standard Forms Committee and served as Chairperson in 2007.

Email Steve Weiss.

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