Realtor Diana Arvatescu is getting all kinds of publicity from a provocative advertising billboard on what appears to be a windswept Calgary highway. (It might be downtown Calgary for all I know. Many of the main drags in Calgary look like unpopulated stretches of Taschereau Blvd., Newman Blvd., St. John's Blvd.)
The billboard features a photo of Arvatescu with a come-hither look in her eye and the invitation "Let me take you home. It's gorgeous inside."
More than a little provocative. I mean, there are plenty of real estate pros, male and female who use glamour puss photos and their own innate sex appeal to sell houses. We all use what we have. (In my case, that means a sense of humor, intelligence and a reporter's skill at listening, hearing and delivering what my clients communicate. I know, sexy, right?)
This ad goes several steps, further. I think it sends the wrong message about women in real estate.
It is certainly courting controvery in Calgary where the local real estate board has voiced some discomfort about her sexually charged come on. The issue is particularly sensitive in a town where a young realtor was murdered after being lured to a house by a stranger.
What is she selling, exactly? Is she the product or is she the conduit to the product? We might never know because the agent herself ducked out of a scheduled interview to talk about her billboard.
If you had a house to sell, would you want to see your agent's best come-hither face on a big-assed billboard or would you rather she spent her money on targeted marketing - ads in local papers, flyers, a mailed postcard with a picture of your house?
For the record, this kind of billboard would not fly in Quebec, where the OACIQ (our professional organization) says that we have to use our full names, titles and agency name in our advertising.We can only include information that is demonstrably true. You see the little #1 in the left bottom corner of her billboard? That would not fly in Quebec because it begs the question "#1 what? Who says? Where's the proof?"
Guess standards are a little looser in Gas and Oil Country.