An eerie piano piece plays in the background as a pink-haired woman walks through the doors of a mansion with an avant-garde ambiance. Suddenly, she sees herself seated at the piano, playing the tune in a black off-the-shoulder dress. No, it’s not a trailer for an upcoming thriller, but an outside-the-box marketing campaign for a $10 million-plus property in Toronto’s Bayview/York Mills neighborhood.
Conceptualized as an “alternate reality game/mystery/science fiction story,” the multi-media project combines video, photography and text to showcase the six-bedroom, 11-bathroom home. The listing agents, Sherkin-Langer and Castle of Harvey Kalles Real Estate, wanted to present the estate in a way that reflected its unique character.
To do so, they pooled together the talent of Jessica Langer, a digital/culture professor and consultant, Madeline Ashby, a science fiction writer and futurist, ALB in Wonderland, a YouTuber and Instagram star, Angela Keeley, a geek culture pro and Kedge Futures consultant, and photographer Paul Hillier.
The website, whereisthis.place, is intended to feel like the blog of someone who stumbled across the photos and video on their supposedly “new” tablet. When the blogger calls the company to report the issue, a female representative says, “Thank you for trying to find me. Please keep trying,” before abruptly hanging up. That’s when things get *very mysterious* and the viewer is invited to check out the accompanying media.
ALB, with her flowing cotton candy hair, is seen wandering around the mansion in a dream-like state. There are three videos in total, with numerous costume changes and artsy, slightly voyeuristic shots of ALB in nearly every room of the house.
The second video opens with a ride in the glass brick elevator that leads to a state-of-the-art home gym that includes cardio machines, weight training equipment, a limestone-lined steam room and mosaic-tiled showers. ALB toys around with the touchscreen home automation system, and then enters a whimsical games room with retro arcade games, billiards table, suspended model train track and an original 1940s Coca-Cola bar.
Up next is a tour of the gourmet kitchen, with its family dining area, custom cabinetry, stainless steel countertops, breakfast bar and a colorful glass and aggregate backsplash. ALB heads back to the living room where she falls asleep on a couch in front of the fireplace, dreaming up more images of the exquisite home. Shots of the master suite highlight its floor-to-ceiling windows and a fiber-optically lit and animated night sky mural on the ceiling. While not featured in the videos, there is also a two-storey garage that provides enough room for 13 vehicles, accessible by a custom car lift.
It remains to be seen whether the unusual marketing campaign will prove successful — but it’s a wholly new approach to luxury real estate listings in Toronto and beyond. See more of the listing photos below.