Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thurs Post #5: Globe and Mail expands it's examination to other incidents of media deceit

In an earlier post we brought you the coverage of this issue by the Globe and Mail newspaper as well as pointing out that this is not the first time there have been examples of media deceit in the Lower Mainland.

Nor is it the first time MAC Marketing Solutions had a tie in with that deceit.

Well the Globe and Mail has now expanded their examination of the issue to include those other infractions.
This is the latest in a number of questionable marketing tactics to be exposed within Metro Vancouver’s real estate community. During a media blitz announcing the Groupon-style sale of units at a Surrey condo development last year, one woman identified to a television news crew as an eager local investor was in fact a sales manager for Key Marketing, the company behind the scheme.

That same company has also taken groups of Chinese buyers on helicopter tours of Metro Vancouver properties, and at least one of those trips was believed to be misleading. Garth Turner, a business journalist and former politician, reported the Chinese buyers on a Feburary, 2011, trip – on which several media outlets were invited – were in fact local real-estate agents and brokers and the trip was meant to promote a new condo development.

Cam Good, president of The Key, which includes Key Marketing, was a partner at MAC Marketing Solutions from 2004 to 2009, according to his LinkedIn page.

According to 2011 data by the Landcor Data Corporation, 75 per cent of those who purchased Metro Vancouver condos as investment properties are from Metro Vancouver. About 3 per cent are from the U.S. and 2 per cent are from other countries.

The Real Estate Council of B.C will be investigating the matter.


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  1. Strange paradigm shift going on.

    It's as if the powers that be have decided to stop bothering to prop up this bubble.

    Did local the RE industry just jump the shark?

  2. I guess better late then never

  3. How come no one has picked on the Mac sales representative showing the "sisters" around the display suite? What a joke.

    1. Completely. The latest story being floated by the vested interests is that this was a spontaneous idea by MAC staff caught up in the moment. Right. Monday to Friday office staff just happened to be working Saturday on Lunar New Years. In the show suite. When cameras where scheduled to come. Obviously a spontaneous unplanned moment.

      Worth noting that it was an SFU marketing professor who gave the interview to float this idea. Probably not a good time to bring Tsur Somerville in. Need a fresh academic face for intellectual damage control on this one.

    2. The guy with the big eyebrows or the girl?

  4. "Cameron McNeill, the head of MAC Marketing Solutions admits the story was a fake and says sorry. But McNeil says just how the incident happened may never be solved."

    om f'ing god

    1. I guess he's banking on people forgetting about this entirely once this news cycle is complete. Sadly, he's probably correct.

  5. Great job Whisperer.

    Par for the course for the RE industry, who just don't expect to get caught. And another shameless RE promotion run by the media.

    This industry gets more immoral and corrupt every day.

  6. Great work for exposing this.

    It's so frustrating watching local news these days and seeing people get interviewed without the reporters fact-checking anything they say. It seems that as long as the reporter doesn't say the lie, it can be aired as fact.

  7. The fact that media looks to RE promoters for any sort of information has always seemed to me to be unbelievable. Who asks a sales person for facts? Facts are what you need after you talk to a sales person...and they call it "news"!

    I am encouraged by the fact that Andrea Woo at the Globe and Mail tonight actually published the stats of offshore condo buyers in Vancouver. 2% in 2011. Not exactly a market maker. Why have other reporters not done this over the past years instead of blindly accepting whatever the RE community feeds them?

    1. Well it isn't true for one. Offshore buyers don't put down their Shanghai street address when they buy a home here, they put down the address of a local lawyer or realtor who facilitated the deal. Nobody knows the real %

    2. Advertising dollars.These companies put lots of commercials through the media outlets.They in return turn a blind eye and report whatever BS they are given to keep the money flowing.

    3. If nobody knows the real %, then on what basis can you say that the figure stated by Landcor Data is false? Perhaps more accurate to say that in your opinion Landcor's number is not verifiable.

  8. Congratulations on making it to main stream media. Long may you blog!



  10. RUSH, TBNL & Bubbles from TPB.
    The men who hold high places,
    Must be the one who's start.
    To mold a new a reality.
    Closer to the Heart.

  11. Whisperer you have done a great job.I think you will have to keep pursuing this subject otherwise it will blow over in a few days.There is too much money involved here and these RE companies have their connections in government.The public have to keep inquiring to all forms of media to see what is being done regarding disciplinary action ,fines,and more transparency in the RE industry.
    You will have more followers on your blog from now on so you have the ability to make it happen.Good luck and may "the force be with you".

  12. Whisperer,

    More detail on the lie of Tyler Davies, communications officer at the Real Estate Council of British Columbia, who said he had never heard of any situation similar to this before.

    After the Key Marketing similar use of fake investors (Tara Fluet, one of their employee) for their Groupon-like service, blogger "M" sent them a complaint on April 2, 2012.

    RECBC assigned Carmen Amundsen to the complaint, file# 11-383. Their response letter was dated Apr 20, 2012.

    I'm trying to get the full copy of the complaint and the response by RECBC. I'll let you know as soon as I get them.

  13. Ask BOB RENNIE and all his team about DR. KO!

    At all of the Rennie marketed condo Projects, the mysterious Dr. KO (Asian and completely fictitious) buys a large swath of condos that are behind those “SOLD” stickers even when the Sales and Display suite just moments ago opened for the first time.

  14. The Real Estate Council of B.C will be investigating the matter.

    The foxes guarding the hen-house will certainly lookout for the best interests of the hens...

    Watch this story disappear quietly into the night!!!

  15. Well done. Keep up the good work!

  16. These are very people supplying and creating the documents that back BC Assessment and the City's property tax increases.
    The real estate board is the originating source for all the documents shown me.
    Real estate board document and the experts from its offices statements were used to back the Property Tax Increase that I have had to pay over the last 6 years.
    And this is the kind of Public Fraud used to manipulate, and Hype the growth rate numbers for the Public Tax Base.. ie increased property taxes.
    I think that is enough for a fraud charge... in my books.
    As far as I am concerned This type of public fraud has cost me tens of thousands of dollars in increased Property Tax.
    I personally have been financially damaged by this kind of carefully planned, executed, and repeated public fraud... but can not afford the court cost to fight this... the Crown has financially blocked me from exploring the paperwork further.


  17. Chinese Lunar New Year is a big day for people of chinese descent. If Amanda were not working that day, they would be home with their families for sure. The fact that they dressed the way they were meant that they were not working. Usually they would be wearing business attire, not casual wear to be selling on CNY. It leads me to believe that it was an intended scheme planned ahead. The girls dressed up like buyers and orchestrated the fraud. And, as another commenter mentioned, the salesperson on site showing them around was also guilty of deception. Cam McNeill cannot plead ignorance.

  18. MSM = 70% infomerical + 30% news from other agencies.

    Blogs = In depth discussions and debates on the topics by many and backed by quantitative data.

    Whisperer = kudos!


    Canadian Competition Bureau on

    False or Misleading Representations and Deceptive Marketing Practices


    -The Competition Act contains provisions addressing false or misleading representations and deceptive marketing practices in promoting the supply or use of a product or any business interest. All representations, in any form whatever, that are false or misleading in a material respect are subject to the Act. If a representation could influence a consumer to buy or use the product or service advertised, it is material. To determine whether a representation is false or misleading, the courts consider the "general impression" it conveys, as well as its literal meaning.

    -Under the criminal regime, the general provision prohibits all materially false or misleading representations made knowingly or recklessly.

    -False or misleading representations and deceptive marketing practices can have serious economic consequences, especially when directed toward large audiences or when they take place over a long period of time. They can affect both business competitors who are engaging in honest promotional efforts, and consumers.

    -Under the civil regime, certain practices may be brought before the Competition Tribunal, the Federal Court or the superior court of a province and require that each element of the conduct be proven on a balance of probabilities. The court may order a person to cease the activity, publish a notice and/or pay an administrative monetary penalty. On first occurrence, individuals are liable to penalties of up to $750,000 and corporations are liable to penalties of up to $10,000,000.

    -The Bureau conducts its investigations in private and keeps confidential the identity of the source and the information provided. However, if someone has important evidence about a contravention under the Act, that person may be asked to testify in court.

    -Don't forget that no one actually needs to be deceived or misled for a court to find that an advertisement is misleading.

  20. MAC's facebook page is locked, can't post comments.

  21. Business In Vancouver is following some of the other cases, i.e. Tara Fluet as investor and Rennie Marketing paying off BusinessInVancouver.

  22. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your efforts on this. It is a shame that the mainstream media has not figured out how to use Google as well as you real estate bloggers and commentors!