Industry governing body slams CREA’s ‘over-promising’ ad

by Ephraim Vecina31 Aug 2016
In a recent ad (link:, the Canadian Real Estate Association highlighted the central role that a REALTOR® plays in making sure that a client ends up in a desirable neighbourhood—by showing the difference between working with a Realtor and not doing so as the difference between living in a peaceful locale and residing in the home turf of an intimidating biker gang.

Advertising Standards Canada was not amused, and slammed the advertisement as an example of misguided messaging, CBC News reported.

“Council recognized that the commercial was intended to make the public aware that Realtors in general possess expertise that ordinary buyers do not,” the industry governing body wrote in its decision to reprimand CREA. “However, Council found that this execution over-promised what a buyer’s Realtor customarily delivers, and, therefore, was misleading.”

“[There] was no evidence that both buyers’ and sellers’ agents assume the same degree of responsibility to become thoroughly knowledgeable about the social or less desirable aspects of the neighbourhood,” Advertising Standards Canada stated.

CREA officials expressed bafflement at the decision, noting that the humorous tone of the ad does not undermine the central message: A would-be buyer is better protected because of a Realtor's expertise and knowledge.

“It just doesn't make sense: the nature of their business is they work with both buyers and sellers,” CREA vice-president of government and public relations Randall McCauley said.

“You can't be an expert one day and know a lot of information and then the next day, just because who you're representing changes, you all of a sudden don't know anything,” he added.

“In one sense, they admit that the ad makes sense, and then in another sense they sort of say, ‘well, we don't think it does.’ And that conclusion is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the business.”

McCauley maintained that CREA has no plans of revising the ad, and will push through in airing it by fall.

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