Property developer Redrow has withdrawn a promotional video for new luxury homes in east London following widespread ridicule on Twitter
The film aimed at enticing buyers to the developer’s One Commercial Street was compared to the dystopian worlds of American Psycho, Sin City and Fight Club.
The video, which sees a City worker narrate his own life choices before concluding that his life of cut-throat financial wheeling and dealing is worth it ‘to rise and rise’, has been compared to Christian Bale’s Patrick Bateman character in American psycho.
It has also been criticised as a damning indictment of the London housing market, and slammed as being ‘indifferent to deprivation’.
Architect Sam Jacob told the AJ: ‘[The film] captured a certain psychotic aspect of the nature of housing in London at the moment where it is intrinsically linked to success, finance, lifestyle and so on. In some sense it was beyond parody and captured a zeitgeist in an incredibly clear way.
He added: ‘Inadvertently the marketing and communicating of this property has hit a nerve, and that kind of thinking should be much more integrated into how we look at issues such as housing.’
Set almost solely at night the film opens with a City worker looking back on his life and career.
As the film opens, the narrator begins: ‘They say nothing comes easy and looking back it’s hard to disagree. The mornings that felt like night. The days that melted into months and years. The missed opportunities the doubts, the need to be different.
‘To define yourself, to be more than individual. To stay true to what you believe.’
After delving into a psychotic montage the character walks across a marble floor into his new home, which as the film describes, makes the dystopian nightmare worthwhile. ‘Make the impossible possible’, the narrator adds. ‘They say nothing comes easy, but if it was easy, then it wouldn’t feel as good.’
— Beth Ethier (@missdeutsch) January 4, 2015
The video concludes with the character looking from his balcony over a view of London stating:’To look out at the city which could have swallowed you whole and say ‘I did this’ to stand with the world at your feet.’
Redrow developer behind “flats 4 serial killers” video doing rounds also unsurprisingly behind the Poor Door tower block in East London
— Rakan (@rakanx) January 4, 2015
— Sam Jacob (@_SamJacob) January 4, 2015
— Philip Oldfield (@SustainableTall) January 4, 2015
Speaking about the video a spokesperson for Redrow said: ‘We tried to do something a bit new and different from the typical property videos out there, but we accept that maybe we didn’t get it quite right with this one!’
‘It’s a question of what is the City, what is out relationship with the place we live. This is a place which could have swallowed him [the character], but through hard work he’s ‘beaten’, it raises the question of who has the right to the city and is your participation linked to wealth, your ability to buy it, and it exposes the fear which underlies the issues in the housing market.
‘It is harder and harder to have a life in the city, and this threatens what makes cities really exciting places to live, a metropolitan mix of different things which rub up against each other and are places we want to be. If we are finding that affordability is threatening this then videos such as Redrow’s one help actually get this message across.
‘It’s a sort of irony that this video has been characterised as dystopian but there may be something positive we can take from it.’