A commercial about real estate touches a nerve.

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April 14 2006 9:03 PM

Century 21's Last-Century Advertising

A commercial about real estate touches a nerve.

It is perhaps a symptom of the current cultural obsession with real estate that Seth Stevenson's Ad Report Card on Century 21's spot of a woman cajoling her reluctant husband into the purchase of a new home (aka "the Nasty Wife Ad") generated the most prolific output that FrayEditor05 has seen in his tenure.

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A lot of the commentary focused on the gender roles and stereotypes depicted in this fictional scenario. gracey_newstead criticizes the dark and offensive tone, particularly its portrayal of "a nagging wife and ball-busting real estate agent." BrandiB makes a bizarre but impassioned plea to preserve masculinity in American culture against the "power-female" ideology typified by the husband-wife exchange. Mimi5 wonders if the ad is creepy, or just comfortably realistic:

There's a lot of tension and anxiety behind her apparent bitchiness. Her unusually unattractive (esp. for a TV commercial) presentation of her emotions is the discomfiting issue; for some this colors their interpretation of the whole husband-wife conflict and the fictional marriage (ugly assertive woman = evil man basher). Maybe it hits just a little too close to home, especially for guys who'd prefer to watch a "Desperate Housewife" over someone closer to their wifely reality.

Echoing this view, Dolores thinks the gender roles are "a step back into the patirarchial 1950s":

When I saw the Century 21 commercial, my reaction was disgust at the wife having to beg the husband to buy the house, because ultimately it was the "husband's" decision. The realtor only served to back up the wife's begging.

Jospry declares C21's spot a complete flop: "It flattered no one. The wife comes off as a nagging shrew. The husband looks like a wimp and the realtor, ugh!---what a greedy bottom feeder! No one will be able to identify with anyone in this commercial because they will not want to see themselves as any of these horrible steriotypes.

On the opposite end of the opinion spectrum, bottomsup is the rare defender, rating the commercial "one of the better ones from this company":

If you put yourself in the characters shoes you'll probably come off the same way the way the wife did. It was a real Ad, pertaining to real life choices and that's what advertising is all about. If you think about it, they did exactly what they intended to. They got our attention because if they didn't we wouldn't be on this forum talking about it.

perkybabette connects the general aversion to this ad to a broader phenomenon of "real estate agent bashing" which has "gone too far." (Presumably, she is referring to Sirocco1's lengthy diatribe.) Read her defense here. In this adjacent post, originalalaskadaisy also fights back against anti-realtor sentiment. As "a Licensed Real Estate Appraiser who also has Sales License," joeymush has a thing or two to say about the article's misrepresentations of the agent's role.

As further anecdotal evidence of the ad's attention-grabbing appeal, lsparksmith admits that the ad has literally become a subject of debate at her family Sunday dinner. Her intelligent take on the emotional dynamic between husband and wife is worth reading. As are the many other provocative posts in Ad Report Card not featured here. AC5:41pm

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