exquisite favela – property marketing hyperbole

Life is full of contrasts. A world without aesthetic appreciation is not a world I want to live in – sights, sounds, form, experience; both naturally occurring and manmade, every realm of our creative cultural expression is vital to our sense of happiness and adds meaning. Commodity fetishism at the extreme end of it though, can sometimes make your fillings ache.

This here was partly a ‘daily doodle’ creative exercise, but there is a point. There are fairly obvious reasons for disparity in the world. There is a stark contrast between the world where multi-million (and billion) dollar real estate projects exist, the people inhabiting it and the marketing hyperbole that serves it, and the world where the vast majority of our global population exist. I wonder what kind of copy gets penned or brand spin applied to attract prospects into purchase agreements for a one room favela home, or a nifty wee tarpaulin lean-to?

The time, effort and exceptional craft poured into creating an atmosphere of aspiration, acquisition, and lifestyles of comfort and luxury is impressive. Artefacts and multi-sensory brand marketing experiences that compliment the architectural project suitably, but also connect with the prospective investors is an art. It is also sometimes a bit silly. Creating narrative around the merits of owning, or living in a modern marvel of architectural and engineering prowess is part of our world, but it often veers over the edge. Painting an image of a CBD mixed-use mega development as a hip, urbane, vibrant melting pot that encourages ‘community’, or presenting a dour office block as somehow regal and adjacent to the Palais de Versailles can go too far sometimes. There is also something tasteless about this thin facade (pun intended), of vertical aspiration cheek-by-jowl with the much more ordinary concerns of people milling around on the ground. So I set myself an exercise; to run some of my own real estate copywriting and graphic treatments, completely ill-at-odds with that which it describes.

I’ve thought about this a lot over the years – I worked for a while in an agency who specialise in major global real estate marketing, and I lived in Beijing through a period of breathtaking and wholesale manmade topographical transformation. But beyond that, we can’t escape the ubiquity of development hoardings and what is chosen to communicate the going’s on in these big muddy holes beyond. Side note, there was a long running Tumblr blog on this matter called Development Aesthetics – by artist Crystal Benneswhich I enjoyed looking at over the years. It catalogued and commented on the amusing, and often plain ridiculous aspects of ground level development marketing. It is worth heading over there if you want a chuckle, rather than duplicate and post in here any real world examples that are so well documented over there.

The sometimes cringeworthy attention-grabbing language serving this drive toward ever more exclusivity, extremes of luxury and affluent lifestyles among the ultra-high-net-worth individuals shopping off-plan for the hottest new global property assets, is a notable and clumsy juxtaposition with the motives and aspirations of your average folk seeking shelter in a refugee camp, or under a tarp. The people your average real estate tycoon imagines will be inhabiting and accessing their developments, and those who actually will do are not the same thing. The weird artifice of the lifestyles presented on these hoardings and marketing collateral is so distant from the lives of the vast majority of people walking by and seeing them. Who is the audience for these huge proposition statements barging into our sight lines and shouting out at us on our daily commutes? How do these world’s coexist? Will there be any bridging this huge divide?

I will be adding to this set.