There’s always something to howl about

Sex and Real Estate Brokerage

Shaun Mc Lane sells real estate in Orlando. No, strike that. Today, Shaun does not sell real estate in Orlando; he will be opening his own real estate brokerage in December.

Tuesday, Shaun experimented with a racy Web 2.0 offering. He posted a video asking if sex sells. The video was a short slide show of bikini-clad women, in various poses. Should you click through, you’ll see that it isn’t “Betty Grable in a cheesecake” pose. It is a more prurient collection of photographs typically seen on MySpace.

Wednesday, Shaun’s broker laughed about it and asked him to remove the post from his website. Shaun called her bluff and was handed a pink slip. Shaun is claiming independent contractor status, because he pays his own marketing costs, and is visibly irritated with the decision. He’ll be “going it alone” which may have been his intention all along.

Similar controversy gained national attention when Wendy Heath posed with her bulldog, in a bikini, on a billboard in Long Beach, CA. Wendy’s strategy:

“I wanted to set myself apart and kind of shock the shore, and, you know, drive people to my website and increase my business,” Heath told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. “There’s many, many real-estate agents in our area, and it’s hard to break through and set yourself apart. … I am absolutely amazed that one billboard could cause so much attention, but I am absolutely elated.”

Competing female REALTORs dissented:

Well, as a fellow realtor, but also someone with the body to do exactly what she did, I think she took the blonde-bimbo way out. If we, as professional real-estate agents, have to result to using our scantily clad bodies to gain clients, maybe we need to look inside ourselves at what we are lacking professionally. There are many tough real-estate markets nationwide, but when we tear down the image we are struggling so hard to display (which is that every real-estate transaction benefits from the experience and knowledge that only a professional realtor can provide), we essentially lose all that we have worked to achieve. Thanks, Ms. Heath, for destroying all our credibility in one fell, ditzy swoop.

Wendy chose self-deprecation while Shaun was relying on the old Catskills comedians’ fallback, “When all else fails, tell the penis joke“. Laughing at your own imperfections (or in Wendy’ case, perfections) is considered good-natured; laughing at someone else’s is…well…unremarkable.

This isn’t about first amendment rights, broker controlled advertising content, or even taste. I’m sure that Mr. Mc Lane will succeed with Howard Stern fans and Ms. Heath will succeed with Jim Rome fans. Posting nude pictures of Paris Hilton snags hits from Gen Y. Hiring models as real estate agents may allure a wealthy sheik to a Manhattan loft.

This is about being remarkable.

Being remarkable is the goal of our UNCHAINED marketing conference. We want to show you how to create a community of sneezers. People who are wowed by your message to the point that they infect everyone around them with tributes to the remarkable that lives within your soul. We want you to show us how to change the way we connect with consumers

…and we don’t think you have to flash your boobs to be remarkable.

Related posts:
  • Choosing A Brokerage
  • Is Your Broker Profitable?- Traditional Brokerage
  • Taking the Plunge as a Real Estate Broker/Owner


    20 Comments so far

    1. Benn November 29th, 2007 8:38 am

      I always thought it was punt when all else fails- geeze this explains a lot.

    2. Anonymous November 29th, 2007 8:47 am

      Remarkable or not, it’s being discussed – a lot! Was it a simple “T&A” tactic? Sure. Do I regret any of my decisions? Hell no.

      This minute and a half video has brought up many, and all very relevant, underlying concerns with blogging, and advertising, that have been touched on before, but not fully realized.

      There is one very critical piece in my situation that I am afraid to discuss. I do not know much about libel, but I know enough to avoid it. If I were allowed to discuss this information, this story would come across very different, but I am left having to hide behind “Independent Contractor (weak argument)” as a way to sugar-coat my reasoning.

      As the dust settles, I am left smiling at the results. Although the way this played out was not my intentions, I don’t think I could have easily reached so many people to announce the opening of my new office. So, love me or hate me for the video – it’s out there in all its smutty, fratboy, howard stern glory. Had I not read Dan Greenberg’s “Viral Marketing” post on TechCrunch, none of this would have happened, and I would be forced to pay for mass mailers to announce my transition, but now, I have hundreds of thousands of people that are aware of it. I consider that being somewhat remarkable – even if by accident.

      Thanks for the post! I love you guys, and appreciate you raising the awareness.

    3. Greg Swann November 29th, 2007 8:52 am

      Just as a matter of personal observation, your film caused me to reflect once again on why I so much prefer high-resolution slide shows to videos. ;)

      Good luck with the new brokerage. Break them chains!

    4. shaun mclane November 29th, 2007 9:04 am

      Just realized I forgot to post my info on the above comment – was to busy trying to get my words out.

      @Greg – Thanks! When I hit my stats this morning, and saw Bloodhound Blog slamming me, I though, “Oh crap!” I was having flashbacks to your Posh’d post. I’m happy with Brian’s post, and even happier to read your comment. I’ll fill you in as things happen.

      I thought it was a little ironic that Howard Stern was mentioned. I have four emails from “new fans” that each said they found this similar to Howard Stern’s situation with the FCC, and that they sent an email to the station to tell them about it. Could you image the results if this gets mentioned? Seven million very devoted listeners, coupled with all-day replays of the show, and replays on the weekend. This could get even crazier than it already is. Here’s to hoping :-)

    5. Jim Gatos November 29th, 2007 9:06 am

      This has to be the dumbest, tackiest approach to getting publicity.. Good lick, er, luck, I mean..


    6. shaun mclane November 29th, 2007 9:15 am

      @jim – classic!

      Yeah, I wish I could say I planned it to play out like this, but I didn’t. It started as a goof on viral marketing, and a joke for a few friends, but turned into a whole different beast.

    7. Brian Brady November 29th, 2007 9:59 am


      This isn’t a slam; your post is certainly generating publicity.

      What we intend to do, with UNCHAINED, is not to experiment. We intend to make you so irresistable that the “shock value” isn’t necessary, rather your remarkability will be.

      I gotta ask- You were planning to strike out on your own anyway, weren’t you ?

    8. Drew Meyers from Zillow November 29th, 2007 10:03 am

      It seems Shaun is the latest to join Kevin Boer as a “Broker Blogger” –

    9. shaun mclane November 29th, 2007 11:03 am

      Brian, I’ve had my broker’s license for over three years now. I worked for a builder for two of those years, and decided to spend a year with a large general real estate firm to get familiar with how an office runs. So, yes, this has been my plan for sometime.

    10. Brian Brady November 29th, 2007 12:17 pm

      “So, yes, this has been my plan for sometime. ”

      Good deal, Shaun. You’re completely unchained. Good luck!

    11. Russell Shaw November 29th, 2007 1:12 pm

      “When all else fails, tell the penis joke” had a link, to Mr Saturday Night. This link – to dick jokes – would have been much better.

      Great post!

    12. [...] Sex and Real Estate Brokerage [...]

    13. Jim Cosgrove November 29th, 2007 2:43 pm

      I was convinced of the worth of this strategy by reading this post but, when I asked my wife to take a naked picture of me to post on our blog she wouldn’t stop laughing.
      Guess we’ll just have to keep selling the houses.

    14. Geno Petro November 29th, 2007 4:39 pm

      Brian…you got the comment exchange going for sure. (Be sure to check your Technorati…The last time I used SEX in a post title, my blog ended up in an entirely different world, if you know what I mean. BlogFlux wanted to ban me for being an adult site.)

      Anyway, I enjoyed your podcast w/GS yesterday when you touched on some of the above content.

    15. Brian Brady November 29th, 2007 5:44 pm

      Thanks, G- Aloha.

      “This link – to dick jokes – would have been much better.”

      No way I argue comedy with Wonderful Russ- Thanks

    16. Thomas Johnson November 29th, 2007 6:09 pm

      This whole subject is too TITillating.

    17. Jim Gatos November 29th, 2007 7:12 pm


      First we had a “nudie” agent courtesy of Russell, now this…?

      How can I focus on being a professional real estate agent with all this “jiggle” around me?


    18. shaun mclane November 29th, 2007 10:29 pm

      I’m having trouble keeping up with all this.

      @Jim, maybe I should have changed the last statement in the video to, “Putting the Jiggle back in real estate.”

      Good stuff.

      I’m exhausted, but for those of you in support of my decision, I sincerely thank you! I’m all blogged out, and going to bed.

    19. Larry December 1st, 2007 7:03 pm

      Thumbing through posts I must have missed a Chapter in Real Estate Blogging 101?

      I’m sure I read that the idea was to be – “sticky” – not – “tacky”.

      As for breaking chains – this style of marketing may be good in “tacky” theory. The reality is the “sticky” enduring negative fallout.

      Certainly, exposes such as this one get a lot of hits in quick succession, but it’s the long tail that will bite the director/producer’s behind. The professional elephant will remember this ill-considered peanut for a long time.

      On the positive – turning “tacky” into “sticky”, I see potential. Hollywood showed us that if it worked once it will work again. Due to popularity “Orlando Real Estate II”- the working title, may be released in time for the UNCHAINED Conference. This one is a “sticky” redux and when completed, will certainly be a highlight.
      A final scene has been added. It features the director/producer – gloriously naked, with of course, the tanned gluteus side to the camera, head hung low, slowly walking away into the Florida sunset. It fades to black.
      Consensus for the redux title:

      “How to Kiss your Professional Gluteus Goodbye”

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