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Entrants and finalists exemplify the high caliber of expertise and hard work that is associated with CHBA-BC member companies.
"the Georgie Awards® won by MAC Marketing Solutions were for projects not related to the recent news reports."
… and what has ensued since then is, ya know,despite the fact that the media started to die down, it's had a chance for me to have a lot of self reflection and to really scrutinize, ahh, ya know our, our moral compass as a company.
And, ahhh, I think it's really important to, ahh, for me to, ahh, to understand that. And today, I'm, ahh, I'm incredibly proud of of a MAC team of about 25 people here, ahh or 20 people here, this is my 20th year at the Georgie Awards and ahh, I've had, an incredible outpouring of support from people in the industry, ahh, the Canadian Homebuilders Association. I'm very, very, very proud of this industry and our place in it.
And despite the fact that our reputation has been bruised, our morale character remains steadfast and I'm so proud of that.
I think I owe the entire industry an apology, and the media an apology, for any embarrassment that this may have caused, and any hardship that may have happened as a result of this, ahh, unfortunate incident. However, umm, I think it's really also important for us to use this as a celebration of the, uhh, high standards that we share as an industry, and that I know MAC represents.
And, ahh, it is now my job, more than ever… excuse me, i'm (illegible) a little here, it's my job more than ever to, ahh, ensure, and it's MAC's job more than ever to ensure, that this never happens again. So thanks for giving me a moment and, ahh, good luck to everyone tonight.
The Vancouver Sun last week published a story and photo gallery online about a West Vancouver waterfront home at 3810 Marine Drive listed for $38 million. The Sun has since learned that the photos on the listing realtor’s website are artist’s renderings and not photos of the actual home on the property. The home on the property is a rancher/bungalow built in 1964. Realtor Laura McLaren says the images on her website depicting a mansion “are renderings of what could be built on this property.”
Korstrom then tells us the RECBC has taken up an investigation into the activities of Key West Marketing and former MAC Marketing partner Cam Good:The Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC) is investigating a series of incidents in which Metro Vancouver real-estate marketers have allegedly duped media to spur sales and inflate the perception of demand for real estate projects.
The RECBC regulates the real-estate marketing industry and has the power to suspend licences, cancel licences, reprimand and impose fines of up to $20,000.
Its most recent investigation involves MAC Marketing Solutions and a charade that at least one of its employees executed on February 8. MAC owner Cameron McNeill publicly apologized for an employee who pretended in television interviews with CBC News and CTV News to be a customer.
The employee and another woman posing as her sister claimed they were both daughters of wealthy Chinese parents who wanted to celebrate Chinese New Year by buying them a Vancouver condo as a present.
McNeill then conducted an internal investigation that prompted the departure of a senior manager, he told Business in Vancouver.
McNeill would not name the senior manager nor say whether he fired the employee or if he or she resigned.
“Some poor judgments were made and those poor judgments led to unfortunate circumstances,” McNeill told BIV February 20. “I’m not going to say that my investigation is finished entirely, but I have a much clearer picture.”
RECBC is also investigating two incidents of alleged media manipulation perpetrated by Key Marketing Inc., according to RECBC spokesman Tyler Davies.
Key principal Cam Good, who like McNeill is a past BIV Forty under 40 winner, denies that either of the incidents were indeed “similar deceptions.”
The first incident involved a February 2011 helicopter tour of White Rock that Key organized. Good issued a news release at the time that urged media to view and meet a “a group of Chinese realtors” as they took a helicopter tour of nearby real estate projects. Media outlets reported that the realtors represented overseas clients.
But it later was revealed that the realtors, who were of Asian descent, were based in Metro Vancouver. It was not clear if they had any potential clients based in Asia.
“There was no deception,” Good told BIV in an email. “There was never any misrepresentation about what was being done or who they were.”
The second RECBC investigation into Key involves an April 2012 incident in which a Global TV story about CONDOday Events Inc. identified Key sales manager Tara Fluet as an investor.
CONDOday is a company that Good owns separately from the Key. The two companies share office space and some human resources.
CONDOday hosts Groupon-style deals for investors who are given a short window of time to buy a home in order to reap a substantial discount.
Good said Fluet regrets not disclosing that she was a realtor and that she works for CONDOday’s sister company.
“Tara apologizes for this lack of transparency,” Good wrote in the email. “It was [a matter of] an off-duty salesperson from a related company stopping by an event to check it out and happy to answer questions when asked.
If anyone has anything they would like to pass on to the RECBC, the complaint page is here and their contact info is here.It wasn’t intentional media manipulation.
In the heady days before the economic downturn, MAC Marketing’s annual sales neared $1 billion, second in Vancouver to Rennie Marketing’s approximately $1.1 billion in sales.
Kudos to BIV, and reporter Glen Korstrom, for following up on this story.Sluggish real-estate sales, however, have reduced all real estate marketers’ sales targets and made the sector more competitive.
“I like this market,” MAC principal Cameron McNeill told Business in Vancouver. “It’s one where balance and execution creates stronger results. I like a balanced market where developers who can execute well, and [marketing] companies that execute well, can outperform.”
Despite the recent embarrassment of having to publicly apologize and undergo a Real Estate Council of British Columbia investigation into a situation where an employee pretended to be the daughter of a wealthy buyer, McNeill remains upbeat about the future.
“Character is who you truly are,” he said. “Reputation is how people perceive your character. I remain steadfast in our strong moral character.”
He now shies away from quantifying each year’s total sales, but he said that MAC consistently sells more than 1,000 homes each year and employs about 100 staff, including 60 brokers, or “MAC Engine” members, as he prefers to call them.
McNeil said his salespeople are seeing an increase in activity, including from Chinese buyers. “To me, (Chinese buyers) are a leading indicator,” McNeil said. “What I mean is, when Chinese buyers are active, it is a little bit of a bellwether (for the overall market), and the Chinese are active.”
(Note: the google translation incorrectly translates the figure as a 7% drop. The news article does actually use the number 70%. Not sure why google turns a 70 into a 7).The deception was intended to create the impression that Chinese buyers were still queuing up to buy into Vancouver's teetering real estate market, which has long been fuelled by money from China and is now rated as the second least-affordable city in the world, behind Hong Kong, according to the Demographia consultancy.
While the stunt was roundly slammed, it also reignited a debate among real estate observers: Just how much truth is in the long-standing narrative that foreign money is driving the local market? Anecdotes abound about foreign investors scooping up Metro Vancouver real estate, driving up prices and creating anxiety among locals – a bogeyman haunting the dream of home ownership – but evidence to support such a claim is scant.
As many people now know, Amanda is a young administrative marketing assistant at MAC Marketing Solutions in Vancouver, a company developers hire to flog condos to the rabble. She crossed the ethical line last week when the company tried to (once again) milk the incredibly lazy, gullible and bush-league Van television media...
Of course, this is not the first time. In 2011 you might recall Cam Good, head of The Key – another house-flogging, Van-based professional pumping outfit – hiring a yellow helicopter to ferry around “Chinese investors” with three TV crews stuffed into the back of the chopper. The intentional buzzing of defenceless places like White Rock was intended to goose the myth of HAM – Hot Asian Money – and feed the meme that legions of oriental Donald Trumps were about to gobble up the region, pricing the locals out forever.
But as this blog pointed out days after Global and CBC ran their yellow peril stories, the Chinese dudes were actually Canadian realtors from the burbs, posing as rich vultures from Guangdong. Mr. Good’s company also tried to pass off an employee as a consumer in a weird scheme that brought the Groupon concept to selling condos.
People (Asians, preferably) were offered money, plus lawn chairs, portable heaters, food and porta-potties to camp out in from of a sales centre for 24 hours prior to opening. TV news crews were invited to come and witness the spontaneous news event and the stories they ran begat longer lines, people being the lemmings they are.
A senior executive at a Vancouver marketing firm was forced to resign after employees of the company were caught posing as the daughters of rich Chinese property buyers in interviews with TV reporters.
The deception was intended to create the impression that Chinese buyers were still queuing up to buy into Vancouver's teetering real estate market, which has long been fuelled by money from China and is now rated as the second least-affordable city in the world, behind Hong Kong, according to the Demographia consultancy.
It's not the first time that spurious reports about buyers from China have been used to hype the Vancouver property market. In one incident in 2011, a local marketer tipped off TV reporters that a group of property buyers from China were taking helicopter tours of the region to spot potential purchases. It was later revealed that the "Chinese investors" in the report were in fact Vancouver real estate agents of Asian descent.
The average price of a detached house in the core district of Vancouver West topped out at C$2.25 million (HK$17.13 million) last May. It has since fallen by more than 11 per cent.
For over ten years, MAC Marketing Solutions has strived for excellence built on a foundation of honesty, integrity and professionalism. This was rocked 10 days ago when poor judgment resulted in an inappropriate and uncharacteristic incident. I apologize for that incident and pledge that nothing like this will ever happen again at MAC. Having had the opportunity to assess the situation I have taken decisive actions. Although it will take time, we hope that we can earn back our good reputation and your trust. This situation has been difficult for everyone and as a company, we will learn from this, grow stronger and be better for it.
Cameron McNeillPresident, MAC Marketing Solutions
A senior manager at MAC Marketing Solutions has left the company in the wake of a scandal that involved the company's employees pretending to be daughters of wealthy Chinese parents who wanted to celebrate Chinese New Year by buying a condominium.
McNeill would not name the senior manager nor say whether he fired the employee or the person quit.
"Some poor judgments were made and those poor judgments led to unfortunate circumstances," McNeill told BIV earlier today.
"I'm not going to say that my investigation is finished entirely but I have a much clearer picture. There's going to be more things that may come to light but I've spoken with everyone on the site that day and I have a much clearer picture of what transpired."
In an email to CBC, MAC Marketing owner Cameron McNeill writes he implemented "appropriate actions" vs employees who duped media and that he accepted the resignation of a "MAC senior manager." But, McNeill won't comment on specifics, citing privacy concerns.
Statement from MAC Marketing doesn't elaborate on what "decisive actions" it took, or who was fired/resigned after duping media.
Real Estate Council Investigates Condominium Marketing Complaints
Real estate licensees may be aware of recent media reports with respect to the marketing practices of some real estate licensees involved in the sale of condominium developments. The Council is currently investigating these matters to determine whether or not the activities reported on may constitute breaches of licensees' professional obligations under the Real Estate Services Act.
"A conspiracy may also refer to a group of people who make an agreement to form a partnership in which each member becomes the agent or partner of every other member and engage in planning or agreeing to commit some act. It is not necessary that the conspirators be involved in all stages of planning or be aware of all details. Any voluntary agreement and some overt act by one conspirator in furthance of the plan are the main elements necessary to prove a conspiracy."
"prices are solidly down 10% in past 10 months. The average / median and benchmark prices are all steadily down and it is a clear trend without sales mix issues. Many sales are now occurring for 30-40% off the asking from last Spring."
Kirk Williams: Matthew Black was the reporter on the story. He asked marketing staff for help in finding Chinese buyers.One couple didn't want to do interviews. Initially the two women were shy too.Matthew Black: A few minutes later that story changed again and this time they were going on camera. And this is how we met Chris and Amanda.
History of Central Banks and why we must End the Federal Reserve
- Ralph Nader on CNN
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