Canada in Crisis Pays for REALTOR’s Advertising

You Have Mail

As days go the past few were not unusual except for an email from a Mr. McSorley. Normally emails include an assortment of ubiquitous spam identified by their suffixes such as .ru. Appearing a few mornings ago email of a different sort arrived. Its suffix was Why in wonder, would the National Film Board be contacting me?

natioanal film board

The Envelope

Piqued with interest the mail was opened to reveal the following:

“Hi Mr. Yatkowsky,”

“I thought you may be interested in this new short documentary for your blog. ‘Dressing for Success’ is the first short film in a web documentary series looking at the economic crisis through the eyes of Keith, a young Vancouver real estate agent trying to make his name during tough times. …”

“The project looks at the human impact of the economic crisis. Over the next year we’ll be following the stories of over a dozen Canadians from across the country and from diverse backgrounds, and producing over 250 films and photo essays looking at how we are collectively coping with the financial downturn.”

The Project

Curiosity demanded a look.

Take Away

The story as noted by Mr.Mcsorley in his email, is about a Vancouver REALTOR® named Keith Roy. Mr.Roy is an salesman with MacDonald Realty in Kerrisdale. As Mr. McSorley suggests we are supposed to learn something about “how we are collectively coping with the financial downturn”.

As if to emphasize Mr. McSorley’s words the film’s bold title appears – “Measuring the human side of the Canadian economic crisis”. Combined it is expected that the story will be worthy of the price of the film and its cost to the public purse.



The first few frames concluded that in keeping with the nature of the National Film Board – the film matches the board’s long standing credentials of quality production. However, when reading the sub-title, ‘Dressing for Success’, a warning sounded. Could this be yet another variation of spammy How to Make a Million dollars in a Recession fodder? Nah, not possible! The film, produced by the NFB would maintain tradition and deliver something insightful and or entertaining. In this author’s opinion, ‘Dressed for Success’ proved neither – like spam, the film came with a jacket but no pants!

Doesn’t Measure Up

Aside from obvious faux pas, of which there are several, the most notable occurrs at 1.22 minute minute mark, Mr. Roy in discussing property values in Vancouver’s Marpole neighbourhood, serves up a sample of his market knowledge in commenting on a home priced at “$1.3 million that is a large 1 bedroom”. Not to be picky but, really Roy, shouldn’t you have asked for a retake? With that as mark in time, the remaining vignette falls into manipulative misdirection as we are repetitively blasted with this REALTOR’S® unabashed, advertising campaign. Transported are we to a some place and left with anything but a Measuring of the human side of the Canadian Economic crises.

Cut of Your Cloth

Searching for substance in the intent of the title premise and finding none, one is left to ask if this film faithfully communicates that in some way this REALTOR® represents an economic crisis in any way? Pointedly, what measurement are we to judge this REALTOR’s® depth of despair? Was the message subtly buried somewhere in this REALTOR’s® derisive claim that citizens of Vancouver only speak of “politics, real estate and weather”? From this statement does one extrapolate an assumption that Jacques Rogge and the IOC committee based their decision to hold the Olympics in this city because we are narrow minded times three? Surely the measure of this city and it’s peoples can not be validated by the cut of REALTOR® Roy’s cloth for his words imbue farce!

Giving Gravitas

Hoped for is that the true intent of the NFB was to leave us to wonder from which rock does this man’s voice claim such inflammatory bunk. Listening to his words, is one presumptuous to suggest that those Canadians out of work and suffering – those who truly are experiencing the measure of the economic crisis are to believe someone who seeks “gravitas” via a $2000 custom fit suit?


Less than casual observation, might conclude that the subject of the documentary is more about Mr. Roy establishing himself as a “go-to-guy” rather than leaving a viewer with insight into our economic crisis. That same observation sees this film smacking in disproportion an all-about-me blatant self-serving piece of advertising avarice. Measured, it seems there is little to do with the Canadian economic crisis?

Return Email

A response was sent to Mr.McSorely’s first email with my concerns about having this NFB production in this blog. In retrospect, the response carried incredulous tone.

“With due respect – I must ask why you think I would waste band space promoting another realtor’s efforts? Your request implies that you have not taken the time to read my blog in order to deduce that I am a REALTOR®. This leaves me to conclude that your request amounts to little more than spamming. Thanks for letting me know that the NFB was into that form of broadcasting.”

There’s Mail Again

Mr. McSorley responded with:

“I did read your blog and saw that you are a Realtor. At the same time, I thought the documentary speaks to current issues in the housing market that may be affecting all realtors; I therefore thought you may be either interested in sharing the documentary, or posting your thoughts about your own experiences on the site.”

Back At Yah

To Mr. McSorley:

“I appreciate your response to my concern but, I don’t think you get it! The film in question featuring Keith Roy is in my opinion, a slick bit of advertising for that specific REALTOR®. From my perspective, it is in essence, a blatant electronic self promotion flyer – one I assume that was paid for by the NFB. In that NFB would do this without considering this implication is either extremely odd or beyond my scope of understanding the NFB’s mandate – I accept either.”

“While you and yours might artistically view it as a project that constructs a series of vignettes featuring “a day in the life of ” episodes it is important to understand that what you have built is as proposed – a piece of self promotion for that individual, nothing more! One is left to presume this is a reflection of your inability to understand this business called real estate.”

“If in fact if you did, you might then understand that from a competitive viewpoint, I would be reticent to include such advertising on my blog.”

“To simplify – it is equivalent to GM advertising Ford automobiles.”

“What remains disconcerting is that substantial public dollars were used to pay for this individual’s advertising. Is that a normal practice of the NFB?”

“This single aspect remains contentious.”

Ahh the Controversy

There are many REALTORS® who are avid self promoters – sorry folks it’s part of the business. No doubt you know one or two and you like them or you don’t. As to their efforts to curry your favor you are entitled to criticize, chastise or despise. Ian Watt is one of the kings of video blogging. So is Kye Grace and Tom Everett. Others such as Peter and Susan Clayton-Carol, Norm Flockhart remain traditionalists who have worked market areas plying your mail box with flyers, knocking doors or hand delivering free pens calendars and flowers to entreat your favor. They are a few of the hard working REALTORS® in our city.

Call them what you may, like them, dislike them, employ them, dismiss them – that choice is yours. However, to my knowledge, not one of these real estate professionals have ever made use of any public funds directly or indirectly vis a vis an entity such as the National Film Board to prop their individual advertising campaigns. While the go-to guy Mr. Roy may have conquered that mountain, anticipated is that the fall of being associated with using public funds for his personal promotion may bring him unwanted “celebrity status”.

Remaining unanswered is a contentious question for the powers at the National Film Board. Why was Mr. Mcsorley allowed to spend public funds in this manner? Do the powers at the NFB and Mr. Mcsorley in particular, not understand the optics? Does the oblivious production of this particular film failure strike as another reason Canada is in an Economic crisis?

* Disclaimer: Unknown is the real cost of the suit. Apologies to Samson’s if it was undervalued.

**Logo Courtesy National Film Board

***Film Courtesy National Film Board as per T.McSorley’s request

About Larry Yatkowsky

Larry is a recognized real estate expert. A veteran professional, his experienced counsel leads Vancouverites in his west side community to place their trust in a man passionate about his work. Uncompromising ethics bring a balanced approach to realizing your real estate dreams.

When Life Moves You - contact Larry:

*Disclaimer: Statistics Courtesy REBGV. While believed to be accurate they are not guaranteed.
**Numbers provided may vary as they are dynamically posted by the REBGV.

Reader Comments:

John Veltheer Says:
December 9th, 2009 at 12:20 am

I live in Kerrisdale and have never seen a ROY sign.

December 9th, 2009 at 12:24 am

probably because Mr. Roy wants to be the Marpole go-to guy. However, his sign in Kerrisdale isn’t the issue me thinks.

December 9th, 2009 at 7:18 am

Clearly the painful memories of November 2008 have passed for you, but not for poor Roy and other “go-to guys.” This has been quite a recession for real estate agents.

Bill Says:
December 9th, 2009 at 8:18 am

That is the most naff jacket I think I have ever seen. Does the video say who his tailor is so that we can avoid him?

December 9th, 2009 at 10:06 am

yes it’s Samson’s. the firm is a well respected tailor. Maybe it was the gravitas that bothered you.

December 9th, 2009 at 10:12 am

LOL. Nothing lasts for ever except for some folks.
What’s your take on the optics for NFB?

jack jameson Says:
December 9th, 2009 at 11:59 am

dear larry and readers

this was quite frankly one of the most embarrassing videos i have seen. it was so chock full of the worst cliches from ‘realtor school’ that i was actually in disbelief.

this stuff about being a celebrity and the whole deal with the suit ?! what !

gravitas….?! I don’t think so.

i am totally at a loss to how the NFB could have passed this fluff piece.

do realtors still say stuff like that openly ? do they think the public care about this kinda stuff?

thanks larry. very interesting stuff


December 9th, 2009 at 12:16 pm


I think a lot of us skipped that ‘REALTOR school’ class. 🙂

As for the NFB, for years IMO it has produced some wonderful film. Hopefully, this is piece is a short lived lapse in judgement.

December 9th, 2009 at 1:47 pm


Clearly a promotional piece, and as Jack suggested, a poor one at that. Had it not been funded and produced by NFB it would actually be kind of funny.

dave Says:
December 9th, 2009 at 9:27 pm

I most loved Roy’s comment that ” Not long ago you couldn’t give a house or condo away, you could have cut prices in half and still people weren’t buying”
I plan on sending Roy my phone number so he can alert me when homes are being given away or cut in half by 50%. I’d really like one or six of those.


December 9th, 2009 at 11:21 pm

The problem with making such ‘celebrity’ statements on the web is that you are forever associated with them. Once past the lips….

Agree with you as I LOL about “the couldn’t give them away” part. In one swoop Vancouver would have no ‘bears’. 🙂

John Says:
December 11th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

..sigh.. our tax dollars at work once again.

December 11th, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Should be more than a sigh. You may want to send your MP a note along with the video and ask the question? – why is the NFB spending money to provide promotional pieces for somebody’s business?

The answer, if you get one, should be real interesting.

Keith Roy Says:
January 12th, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Just got off the phone with Larry and he suggested I post the same comments.

Happy to see that people are watching the videos and in some cases enjoying them – whether for real interest, comical value or just killing time.

I will say, this is not a commercial – it is an actual documentary. We don’t do outtakes and there are errors that occur. A camera follows me around and offers the public insight into what I do as a realtor and a community member, day to day. I was approached by the NFB and offered myself up for their project. I would be happy to take a call from any of the anonymous bloggers to discuss the matter further.

And – as for the suits… The suits I get at Samson’s tailors are usually $600 – $800. For a hard fit like me (tall and skinny) that is a great deal. Previously, I would buy a $500 suit at the Bay, spent $150 on alterations and still not have a well fitting suit. So, the really lesson here is for a great deal on a suit, visit Samson’s tailors.

Keith Roy

January 13th, 2010 at 10:04 am


Thanks for helping us understand that this video was a real life unedited accounting of your view of the Crisis in Canada from a real estate perspective.

With due respect, if your vision of the crisis amounts to providing a ‘real lesson for a great deal on a suit’, the depth that response serves to confirm your understanding of the issues. Some would suggest that you incorporate this video within your listing presentation to potential clients when seeking a commitment for a listing mandate. It may help to alleviate the crisis they face in their decision process.

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