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Winos & Flying Ovens

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UnReal Estate – Why Agentz Shud Proofrede:

Hi Everyone – I am traveling, so with your permission, I am re-posting a blog from one year ago with just a few changes. It had a lot of responses, and some things just bear repeating:

The MLS and the L.A. Times Real Estate pages should be on Oprah’s Reading List. Seriously. There are so many typos and outrageous remarks in the MLS that it makes for great leisure reading. The newspaper ads certainly add to the merriment. I love houses with features such as a “slimming pool” or a “crook’s kitchen,” especially if those features are in a “Post and Bean” house. And what could be more entertaining than a “barge yard” (for your barges of course) or a “wall of widows?” Thus, I have compiled some of my favorite typos. So take a moment to smile, fiends. (Uh, I meant “friends.”)

Would YOU Buy This House???

Large slitting room (Is this Tony Soprano’s house?)

House on Beautiful wok street (But what if I don’t cook?)

“Libary” with built in shivs (In all fairness, perhaps this is in a prison.)

Disclosure: Crack on back side (Relax, we all have one.)

Call lasting agent (It’s true, there aren’t many of us left!)

Oven flew in from Italy (Paid for with frequent flyer miles, no doubt.)

Built in wino bar (Is there a stool with my name on it?)

Lunch severed (One misplaced r and you’re dead.)

Snacks and drunks okay… (My sentiments exactly.)

Bang hard (Let’s just not go there).

Let’s Sell This Sucker

Seller moved but furniture strayed (In most states that’s grounds for divorce.)

Brick Drivaway (Mama Mia – Those bricks must have flown in from Italy with the oven.)

Seller in NY – Coming out soon (Okay, this was in West Hollywood…think about it.)

Plumbing needs motivation (Way too much information.)

Seller says Gas is a problem (His plumbing must “need motivation” also.)

Terrorist yard (Another head-scratcher.)

Pouter room (A place to go when the first payment is due)

Call Frist (Will the Senator filibuster for me?)

Beautiful terpentine tiles in shower (Note to self: Do Not Smoke in the Shower.)

Rear entry blocked off (Eat prunes already.)

Pieceful feeling (Especially when in the shiv room)

Seller can’t say no (Neither could my ex…hence the “ex.”)

Weird and Random

Rooster somewhere in the neighborhood, but not for long. (Need I say more?)

Screams reported at twilight open house were coyotes we think. (Or a rooster perhaps?)

The foundation bolted (But the house stayed???)

Grass fireplace starter (For a home on the tundra…)

Owner says dog likes the taste of people. (What are his thoughts on fresh rooster?)

Built-in smoker (Grandpa won’t leave.)

Strange glass windows (I’m too dumb to make this stuff up.)

Cemetery nearby (This guy really knows how to close the deal.)

Ass is (Seriously? …I mean SERIOUSLY?)

Agents to be split down the middle. (One screw up with a Tudor and suddenly you’re on the rack!)

No smaking please (But you deserve one upside your thick head.)

Close to Therapy, Rehab and Shopping (One of those choices is bound to work.)

Designer Don. (A decorating offer you can’t refuse!)

And in Case You Need Your Own Motivation:

Call then go. But call again if you can’t get in. Then try again. (Fool me once…fool me twice…)

Call for show times. No kids. Seller may be there and can’t handle anything less than four feet tall. (Hey Bozo – half the kids in Hollywood can probably afford to buy your dump!)

Seller says he’ll give dog to buyer. Check with city for past complaints. Cute dog. (Uh-huh.)

Does anyone want a noisy bird? (To feed to a “cute dog” maybe…)

Hysterical Home (Is it in the Hysterectomy Books?)

Recently bombed for fleas.  (That may have been overkill.)

Marina Del Ray houseboat w/ great living style. Ask about leaks and other issues. (Uh-huh…)

Biggest Sellers, So take Note:

No earthquake insurance. But this is a few miles from the San Andreas Fault so you’ll be fine. (Good to know…IF YOU’RE SUICIDAL!)

Voted Safest Neighborhood until last year. (So I take it the chalk outline has some significance?)

Driveway is shared, but other party doesn’t share too good. (That explains why the chalk outline is in the driveway.)

Neighbor on N. side is nasty. You’ve been warned. (Yes – I saw the driveway…)

And My Fave

Seller leaving state, Going to State of Denial. Kidding. It’s just a bad market.

Okay, so I know what you all are thinking: Los Angeles is not a state of mind…it’s a mindless state. But at least we are colorful and constipated. I mean consistent. Until next week, go in piece.

Comments include those made when first posted on April 4, 2009:

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42 Comments

42 Comments

  1. John Kalinowski

    April 3, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Gwen- I laughed so hard I almost “split down the middle”. Your comments are hilarious! Thanks for the Friday afternoon humor, though it is pretty sad what you can find in the MLS.

  2. Michelle DeRepentigny

    April 3, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    OMG “Terrorist yard (Another head-scratcher.)” – is that supposed to be Terraced yard?

    Infreakingcredible – Hey I’m going to use that in my next MLS description!

  3. Vicki Lloyd

    April 3, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Oh my goodness! I laughed so hard I had tears running down my face & could hardly breathe!

    I know you didn’t make this up, but this collection is way funnier than I have seen in the MLS in 15 years!

  4. Gwen Banta

    April 3, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Thank you, John, Michelle and Vicki! This was one of the most fun blogs to write. And believe me, I have plenty left over for a sequel. For someone who can never even remember where I park, I somehow manage to accumulate a lot of these in my vacant cranium. I think it’s because they are so funny, they’re unforgettable. I bet you’ll start noticing them more often now yourselves. It’s wonderful entertainment while working!

  5. Mike Sparr - Goomzee.com

    April 3, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    What a great way to end the week. Thanks!

  6. Norm Fisher

    April 3, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    My all time favorite is still, “Large dick, perfect for entertaining.”

  7. Elaine Reese

    April 4, 2009 at 7:38 am

    That was hilarious! Makes my goof of “large panty in kitchen” seem so mild.

  8. OCTeam

    April 4, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Hilarious. Who knew we would be in such an entertaining business. Can’t wait for the sequel!

  9. Dan Connolly

    April 4, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I woke my wife up, I was laughing so hard! It’s not just the agents remarks, but your comments are also hysterical.

  10. Mack

    April 5, 2009 at 7:01 am

    Gwen~Thanks for the laugh. I can’t wait for the sequel.

  11. Missy Caulk

    April 5, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Hillarious….opps sounds like they could be on The Jay Leno show for newspaper ads.

  12. Cathy Nealand

    April 5, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Gwen,thanks for sharing, I have not laughed this hard in a long time. And to Elaine-large panty in the kitchen belongs on Gwens list up at the top. I laghed as hard at that one as I did the list.

  13. Matt Stigliano

    April 5, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Gwen – I swear I commented on this, but realized I commented on ActiveRain and not here. No matter where I commented, this is hilarious.

  14. Paula Henry

    April 6, 2009 at 7:13 am

    This is the funniest post I have ever read – saved in my favorites for those days when you just “need a good laugh”.

  15. Russell Shaw

    April 8, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Gwen,

    I am now officially a fan of yours. I loved this. One I saw years ago – that my wife and I still repeat to each other, “Good for anyone who wants to live”.

  16. Paula Henry

    March 5, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Made my day………..again!

  17. Gwen Banta

    March 5, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you, Paula – again and again!

  18. Joe Loomer

    March 5, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Ok, thanks Gwen. I thought I’d be fine having seen this one BEFORE!!

    One pair of shorts and pants later, plus a shirt in the wash because of the soda stain, and a dog that will no longer come anywhere near me, and I’m about done. I may – in fact – charge you for the new keyboard (had to get on my wife’s just to post this comment). I’ll let you slide for the monitor – it’s about four years old anyway.

    Oh, and the shared driveway thing may not be a big deal in LA LA land, but lemme tell you about deeded easements in Gawgah – just in case you’re in OUR neck of the woods and FAIL to ask someone that knows about this sort of thing !

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  19. Gwen Banta

    March 5, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Joe, you are the third person today to tell me that “shared driveway” is fightin’ words in your neck ‘o the woods. One guy said they take the “ease” out of easement.

    I love your description of your reaction to my post, however, I will not be happy until you collapse onto the keyboard and get a permanent impression of letters mashed into your forehead. Then I’ll start calling you “Home Row.” You’re my inspiration!

  20. Houstonblogger

    March 6, 2010 at 1:22 am

    This is so awesome I cannot even pick a favorite. By the time I got to “screams reported at twilight open house….” I was rolling. Thanks for the laugh!!

  21. Dana Voelzke

    March 6, 2010 at 8:02 am

    I once had a client who would flip through all of the MLS listings each week and giggle at all of the typos. These are terriffic. Your point is right on!! The lack of proofreading in the MLS is out of control!

  22. Gwen Banta

    March 6, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Dana, one of the best bloopers I have ever seen was one my partner spotted in our open house guide that said, “Live near the Hollywood “Bowel”!!!

  23. Gwen Banta

    March 6, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you, Houstonblogger! Yes, I live in a crazy but exciting city. Usually the screams at twilight open houses involve naked bodies in a swimming pool!

  24. Matt Stigliano

    March 8, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Gwen – You could probably just re-post this one each week and still be welcomed as a writer here at AgentGenius. It has so much quality content, I’m going to go back and read it again.

    Sad thing is that your posts are made great by bad things. Wish it was possible for you to run out of material.

  25. Gwen Banta

    March 8, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Thanks so much, Matt – your praise just made my day. I agree, I will probably never run out of material – thus is the human condition. However, isn’t it wonderful when we are able to laugh at ourselves? Some of the bloopers in my column have been my own or those of very respected colleagues. Flying fingers on a typewriter and the brain’s ability to see what one meant to say (rather than what is on the page) are the enemies of even the best brains. Thus, I laugh without judgment unless the error is egregious, or the agent is so obviously lazy about looking up a word that the misspelling is beyond excuses. Example: “house in colensack,” or “clotted cheese ceilings,” “pig-in-groove floors,” “new assfault,” and one of my faves: “hand rubbed basebroads.” Enjoy your week!

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Business Marketing

The use of offline marketing can still be advantageous in a digital world

(BUSINESS) Offline marketing is usually skipped over nowadays for the sparkly, shining ‘digital’ marketing strategies, but don’t forget the roots.

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offline marketing billboard

Everywhere you look, people want to talk about digital marketing. In fact, if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in today’s business world, you’re not going to last long. But just because digital marketing is popular, don’t assume that offline marketing no longer yields value.

When used together, these strategies can produce significant returns.

“Some people will argue that traditional marketing is dead, but there are several benefits to including offline advertising in your overall marketing campaign,” sales expert Larry Myler admits. “Combining both offline and online campaigns can help boost your brand’s visibility, and help it stand out amongst competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space.”

How do you use offline marketing in a manner that’s both cost-effective and high in exposure? While your business will dictate how you should proceed, here are a few offline marketing methods that still return considerable value in today’s marketplace.

1. Yard signs

When most people think about yard signs, their minds immediately go to political signs that you see posted everywhere during campaign season. However, yard signs have a lot more utility and value beyond campaigning. They’re actually an extremely cost-effective form of offline advertising.

The great thing about yard signs is that you can print your own custom designs for just dollars and, when properly stored, they last for years. They’re also free to place, assuming you have access to property where it’s legal to advertise. This makes them a practical addition to a low-budget marketing campaign.

2. Billboards

The fact that you notice billboards when driving down an interstate or highway is a testament to the reality that other people are also being exposed to these valuable advertisements. If you’ve never considered implementing billboards into your marketing strategy, now’s a good time to think about it.

With billboard advertising, you have to be really careful with design, structure, and execution. “Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard,” copywriter Paul Suggett explains. “So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across.”

3. Promotional giveaways

It’s the tangible nature of physical marketing that makes it so valuable. Yard signs and billboards are great, but make sure you’re also taking advantage of promotional giveaways as a way of getting something into the hands of your customers.

Promotional giveaways, no matter how simple, generally produce a healthy return on investment. They increase brand awareness and recall, while giving customers positive associations with your brand. (Who doesn’t love getting something for free?)

4. Local event sponsorships

One aspect of offline marketing businesses frequently forget about is local event sponsorships. These sponsorships are usually cost-effective and tend to offer great returns in terms of audience engagement.

Local event sponsorships can usually be found simply by checking the calendar of events in your city. Any time there’s a public event, farmer’s market, parade, sporting event, concert, or fundraiser, there’s an opportunity for you to get your name out there. Look for events where you feel like your target audience is most likely to attend.

Offline marketing is anything but dead.

If your goal is to stand out in a crowded marketplace where all your competitors are investing heavily in social media, SEO, PPC advertising, and blogging, then it’s certainly worth supplementing your existing digital strategy with traditional offline marketing methods that reach your audience at multiple touchpoints.

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Business Marketing

What you can learn from Ulta Beauty’s marketing mix up with Kate Spade

(MARKETING) Ulta Beauty’s insensitive marketing email surrounding the Kate Spade brand can be a lesson: Be cautious and respond to crisis appropriately.

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Woman typing on computer representing the Ulta Beauty and Kate Spade email scandal

Last week in an email sent to subscribers, Ulta Beauty made light of designer Kate Spade’s suicide. Ulta said the lighthearted connection to Spade’s death was unintentional. The email sparked anger across social media and some national news outlets picked up the story. In an emailed response to the New York Post, Ulta apologized to their customers, their Kate Spade corporate partners, and Kate Spade’s family. They ended by saying they will strive to do better.

Words matter. Messaging matters. Hopefully, we can all learn a lesson from this painful mistake.

Check your tone. It’s one of the early things we teach writing students. The tone should match the content. If the icon you’re using to sell a product ended their own life, perhaps light and fun isn’t the tone you should embrace. Ever. But most businesses won’t be dealing with well-known people whose stories have been shared with millions. It’s up to business owners and those who write their copy to ensure the tone matches the message.

Always have a second pair of eyes look over words going out to the public. Or even a third and fourth. Often those in the creative room are brainstorming messages, reworking copy, and looking for the perfect pitch. And they get it. It sounds good, looks good, is easy to say and share, and, best of all, it will lead to sales. Having a multi-person system in place to check the copy and someone separate to give final approval can help catch the oh-my-God-no great words, but absolutely not pieces of sales copy.

Listen to your customer base and have a system in place to listen quickly. All businesses need systems for immediate customer response in play. Ulta caught their so-called oversight quickly.  But they’re a huge brand and Kate Spade was a beloved fashion icon. The negative response went viral and they had a giant mess to clean up. Companies make messes with their words often, messes that don’t immediately go viral but lead to real pain for consumers. When customers ask you to stop a message, listen to them and act.

Apologies don’t make excuses. If you’re caught in a messaging mess of your own making, I’m sorry goes a long way. If needed, follow that apology up with a plan to show you’re serious about “doing better” and making sure this never happens again.

If you find yourself in a place where a public apology is necessary, consider hiring a crisis manager to help with that plan as well.

Part of business today is constant communication with consumers. Try to have systems in place so you don’t find yourself in a “learning to do better” moment like Ulta. Words aren’t just about sales. They have power. Remember that.

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Business Marketing

Experience Design & Marketing: Where do they intersect, where do they diverge?

(MARKETING) The field of marketing has been around the sun and back, whereas experience design is a newer, but growing field. Where do they overlap?

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marketing trends and experience design

Identify, understand, educate, promise, and fulfill. Is that marketing or experience design? Is it both? The closer we get to marketing in the digital spaces* being truly organic and less about carpeting mobile sites with pop-ups and interruptions, the more marketing and experience design (XD)** start to intersect.

Software experiences used to be only about getting jobs done and the learning curve it took to operate that software was accepted as unavoidable. There was no expectation for ease of use and the competitive landscape was far smaller. The same can be said of marketing; when the pool of offers and services were drastically smaller, you won with volume or referral. Now there are deep expectations for human-computer interactions, expectations of low friction when dealing with a system or entity, and more choices than there are biting Tweets. Volume rarely wins anymore unless the traffic spend is massive or the niche is narrow. Both of these are the result of crowded, loud marketplaces and way more noise than signal. So what did marketing do? What did XD do? They turn to delivering more curated, personal interactions and messages. Those are now driven not by gross demographics and forty pieces of car dealership push cards in my mailbox, but by extrapolated wants and needs taken from human voices and applied to custom outreach.

  1. XD uses ceremonies and activities to discover and define our version of market evaluation and segmentation.
  2. XD prototypes and iterates based on focus groups, unmoderated testing, business requirements validation, and the things they expose. That’s our audience testing.
  3. XD seeks to remove the uninteresting, unused, or unnecessary parts of a decision tree (journey if we must lingo) based on response and introduce a version sans those things to drive closer to the intent and outcome. This is our nurture.
  4. XD uses continuous feedback to improve, refine, and in some cases recommend next steps, products, adjustments, or augmentations. That is our remarketing/retargeting, it’s how we adjust the “campaign”.

And those are only the most obvious fibers of the common thread the disciplines share. Others with a deeper knowledge of both topics can surely add to this list tenfold. The essence of this examination is to ask the question, should marketing and experience design work in tandem? Under one shingle? Can they coexist as a federated faction under the larger umbrella of CX?

They are both a part of a unified journey and the natural progression from first exposure to adoption to “damn I love this thing, I think I’ll TikTok about it” for products and services. That kind of melding could serve a common goal; seamless brand engagement.

The people that consume whatever is being offered don’t see us, the company, the thing, as a cluster of siloed pods vaguely marching in the same direction. They see us as a whole and our disciplines should support that impression.

Marketers and Experience folk– integrate! Learn each other’s wares and purposes, share things that work and definitely those that don’t. XD gang, I mean really combining to achieve specific goals. Don’t just send them a Jake Knapp YouTube, find common goals. And marketing kin, this means more than citing some Sprinklr data and the latest NPS around trending SEO. Wonder Twin into a test and prove machine, use HCD tactics to undercover new copy strategies, and test it with a group in a Pepsi/Coke standoff. I know you are A/B-ing your work, but you can narrow that lane before you traffic it. We can learn from each other, we can benefit from one another, greatly.

I’m betting we can forge something slightly fresher than passing people through our business cotton gin and expecting them to feel like we are one. What are the afterimages that last from the time I see a LinkedIn post, follow to the affiliate, subscribe/buy and actually get something good out of the product? Don’t tell me there isn’t a marketing/design love story in there.

I look forward to following up on this with an actionable plan and (hopefully) killer outputs.

Be well, feel good, and know peace.


*Experience Design as a proper name encompasses exactly what is in the eponymous name; the experience is every interaction, passive or active, through the entire cycle. From the first shred of awareness of a product or service to the lasting relationship made– that is experience in this context.

**I’m not going to call it Digital Marketing anymore, pretty sure we aren’t doing direct mail along with our IG ads

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