Estate agent video mockumentary goes viral as backlash bites
This is a legacy post from the findaproperty.com blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.
When FindaProperty.com was contacted last Tuesday about a new fly-on-the-wall documentary about estate agents called underoffer11.com we weren’t sure what to make of it.
The production company insisted it was real, but to our eyes, it had a decidedly mockumentary feel to it. The footage followed a day in the life of an unnamed West London estate agent. (Scroll down to watch the video). James and Charlotte – the two estate agents who star in the film – are portrayed in an unflattering light.
Instead of posting the video on this blog, as the production company had asked, we tweeted it out to our followers to see what they thought. While we felt it was funny (in a laughing at ourselves kind of way) we were under no illusions that others might not feel the same way – and they didn’t.
The problem with this film is that its aims appear to be confused. While it’s now been revealed that it was made by the estate agents Douglas & Gordon – an agent with a reputation for innovation – and features one of their negotiators James Turner in the leading role – the reason for the film is unclear.
On the one hand, Ed Mead, a director of Douglas and Gordon told the Daily Mail that it was intended only for industry insiders and the hype around the film has since “got completely out of hand”. Meanwhile, the production company have been touting it as a fly-on-the-wall, factual documentary.
Lee Helliar, the producer, emailed us last week and said: “We managed to capture the devious side of London estate agents, a side that’s normally shrouded in secrecy. We felt obligated to share our footage with the rest of the public to reveal the true colours of those who claim to help buy and sell our homes.”
She then asked: “I would add that as ‘the public’ do we really mind what our agent does to sell the house as long as we get the best price. Are we morally complicit?”
And that’s the problem with this film. It’s a film about estate agents that is essentially a piece of fiction. While Douglas & Gordon now say it was only intended for internal use, the production company Real Impact Productions says it’s something else entirely and is shopping it all over town.
So what’s at stake here? While this film, which clearly cost a good deal of money to make, is a much needed chance to have a laugh and blow off some steam, the shine is taken off because it’s not clear who is laughing at whom.