G o l d e n   r u l e s :   p r o p e r t y   v i d e o s

Strewth! Two naked Sheilas! The success of property videos in Australia. Hands up who remembers those great Fosters ads with Paul Hogan? Where he wanders with super-cool insouciance up a beach commenting on some fella’s budgie-stranglers whilst supping the Amber Nectar? His character was, of course, the precursor to Crocodile Dundee and epitomised the wonderfully dry Australian sense of humour. They do things differently down under and selling houses is no different.
Take a look at the video above. It was produced by a wildly successful company called Platinum HD who have cornered the market in property videos starting on Brisbane’s Gold Coast and now operate in several countries. This particular video was the first to get over a million views. It was for a super-prime property and depicted two scantily dressed girls tied to chairs and being rescued by a SAS squad who abseiled in from helicopters. This all sounds outrageous enough, but the killer moment is when two estate agents stop the film halfway through and look at the camera saying “Now we’ve got your attention…”
This film could not have cost less than £25k to shoot (and probably quite a lot more) and must seem a million miles from the kinds of marketing budgets estate agents have in the UK where sellers baulk at spending £400 on some decent photos. Granted, the commission system works differently in Australia where 5% is common, but shooting property videos is common too, even in the case of a humble bungalow. The market has matured to the extent that 2% of the asking price is spent on producing the right video simply because a good film will attract more interest, generate more viewings, and sell quicker.
The sector of the property market to realise this most quickly was the developers. Typically, they already have a marketing budget and a thoroughly realistic idea of what a property is worth. More to the point, they cannot afford to have a development hanging around tying up capital.
Property videos have been slow to take off in the UK. Part of the problem is the relatively poor speed with which the UK has invested in a superfast broadband infrastructure, particularly in mobile 4G. This has held back our ability to view web-based videos altogether, something that was exacerbated by the property crash of 2008 alongside a realisation that much of the UK’s domestic housing stock was greatly over-priced. Sellers became very cautious in a moribund market and unwilling to spend a bean on marketing.
Where videos have been used there is no doubt they have at the very least generated interest. However, there are a great many that make some fundamental mistakes. Any half-decent estate agent will tell you that there is no substitute for a face-to-face accompanied viewing of a property. So if a video leaves the impression to a potential purchaser that he has already viewed that property, the video has failed. The best ones understand the core emotional appeal of a property and present that appeal in a film that gently teases, giving the viewer enough of a sneaky peep to tempt him into arranging a proper viewing.
And the really clever aspect of the Oz/SAS film? The Special Forces soldiers rush from room to room shining rifle-mounted torches onto shiny chrome design features, giving just the right sneaky peep into a multi-million dollar beachfront property. I bet they didn’t have to do a million viewings to sell it. Or to put it another way, if the video creates enough interest for two or more buyers to make an offer, the developer need not drop his price by £25k (or more) to secure the sale. Bingo. The video has paid for itself.

< Using images more often associated with the movies, web video content should be crafted to captivate, delight and even shock an audience when used as a tool for selling, particularly when the cost of such a project may be immediately recouped by a consequential sale. (Film by Platinum HD Propvid)


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