Village Whisperer, over at ‘Whispers from the Village on the Edge of the Rainforest’ has unearthed a remarkable story of RE-marketing shenanigans.
Sisters Amanda (left) and Chris Lee (right) are scouting for condos before their parents visit from China to help them buy one. (CTV photo)
“The CTV-TV story [CTV 9 Feb 2013] featured two sisters who were looking to buy a condo at the Maddox condo development in downtown Vancouver: Chris and Amanda Lee.
Curiously MAC Marketing Solutions has an Administrative Assistant named Amanda Lee who not only works for MAC Marketing Solutions – but her current background says she’s attached to the Maddox Downtown condo development profiled in the CTV-TV story. ..
It wasn’t just CTV-BC that ran coverage of the MAC photo op. So did CBC-TV.”
– Whisperer, 13 Feb 2013
MAC Marketing Solutions, once caught out in this subterfuge, on Wednesday [13 Feb 2013] published an apology for the ‘misunderstanding’, in the form of a facebook page comment:
– facebook screencapture, posted by Whisperer, 13 Feb 2013
Whisperer has followed up with a review of the entire incident:
‘MAC Marketing admits they mislead CBC-TV, BC-CTV and all their viewers/customers’
Whispers from the Village on the Edge of the Rainforest, 14 Feb 2013
Clearly this represents far more than a ‘misunderstanding’, but the exposure of this deceit will barely cause a ripple. We have, sadly, come to expect ridiculously poor standards from local media regarding the coverage of the local RE market.
Well done, ‘Whisperer’, many thanks for the uncovering.
The episode is very reminiscent of similar deceit that we ourselves spotted in April 2012, where a ‘sales representative’ selling condos for Cam Good’s ‘The Key’ was presented by Global TV news as a ‘White Rock Investor’ and apparently interested buyer.
UPDATE 14 Feb 2013:
“MAC president Cam McNeill later confirmed that both women filmed in the segment are in fact MAC employees – and aren’t even sisters.
“I don’t have a full explanation of how things went down, I deeply regret for the fact that it didn’t make it more clear to you that the two women in the story were MAC employees,” McNeill told CTV News.”
– CTV News, 14 Feb 2013
Of course, as the two women in the story are MAC employees, and aren’t even sisters, the story itself doesn’t even exist!
UPDATE 15 Feb 2013:
The story of the deceit has now been covered by various ‘media outlets’:
‘Vancouver real-estate firm admits faking investor for TV news’
Sam Cooper, The Province, 14 Feb 2013
‘Real estate marketing firm apologizes after employees posed as apartment shoppers from China’
Tracy Sherlock, The Vancouver Sun, 15 Feb 2013
‘MAC Marketing Solutions Exposed For Fake Vancouver Real Estate Investors’
The Huffington Post B.C., 14 Feb 2013
‘Real estate firm apologizes after employees pose as buyers in news stories’
Andrea Woo, The Globe and Mail, 14 Feb 2013
“This is the latest in a number of questionable marketing tactics to be exposed within Metro Vancouver’s real estate community. During a media blitz announcing the Groupon-style sale of units at a Surrey condo development last year, one woman identified to a television news crew as an eager local investor was in fact a sales manager for Key Marketing, the company behind the scheme.
That same company has also taken groups of Chinese buyers on helicopter tours of Metro Vancouver properties, and at least one of those trips was believed to be misleading. Garth Turner, a business journalist and former politician, reported the Chinese buyers on a Feburary, 2011, trip – on which several media outlets were invited – were in fact local real-estate agents and brokers and the trip was meant to promote a new condo development. Cam Good, president of The Key, which includes Key Marketing, was a partner at MAC Marketing Solutions from 2004 to 2009, according to his LinkedIn page.
According to 2011 data by the Landcor Data Corporation, 75 per cent of those who purchased Metro Vancouver condos as investment properties are from Metro Vancouver. About 3 per cent are from the U.S. and 2 per cent are from other countries.
The Real Estate Council of B.C will be investigating the matter.”
‘Condo marketing company admits it duped media’
CTV British Columbia, 14 Feb 2013
“We’re trying to understand how this happened right now, and so I’m just trying my best to be open with you and just say that I’m very sorry that it happened,” said MAC president Cam McNeill.
McNeill maintained that the theme of the story – that Lower Mainland condo sites saw a spike in Chinese buyers around Lunar New Year – was completely true.
“I think that the ladies probably fit the profile of the story,” he said. “At the moment I don’t know whose idea that was; I don’t even know if they took it upon themselves to make that up.”
– image from CTV News
‘Real estate marketer admits to deceiving Vancouver reporters’
CBC News, 14 Feb 2013
excerpt from News clip:
“The owner of a Vancouver real estate marketing company admits his employees misled media over the weekend, including the CBC. … MACs owner admitted the story was entirely false. Two MAC Marketing workers presented themselves as sisters from China in Vancouver looking to buy a condo over the Lunar New Year.” …
“Some say that irreparable damage has been done to the real estate marketing industry, that future claims of sold out success stories will be viewed with scepticism.”
– Annotated image linked by Canadian Watchdog at greaterfool.ca 14 Feb 2013 10:32pm