Is there such a thing as too PC?

I saw a very interesting property ad from the USA the other day, one which caused a bit of a stir with a newspaper over there due to its use of "forbidden" words. The ad read as follows, see if you can figure out what the problem is:

FAMILY FRIENDLY PARADISE
This exclusive Upper West Side three bedroom stunner has ample space for a nanny's room or home office for work at home professionals. Walking distance from Central Park. Amenities include playroom for the kids and a quiet private garden. Board approval required. No smokers or students allowed.

Appallingly, the problem isn't that I can't afford to put an offer on this great sounding pad. The problem is that laws like the Fair Housinng Act in the USA explicity prohibit the use of words like exclusive, private and family friendly when it comes to real estate ads. Some people believe that these terms could be used to discriminate against certain groups of buyers based on their occupation, gender, race, disability...the list goes on.

Now I'm all for equality - I make fun of everyone equally - but I tend to think that this PC business has been taken to the extreme. For example, if an agent writes a real estate ad that says a property is walking distance to public transport, does that real estate agent unwittingly enrage both those who are unable to walk and those who like to cycle? Where do we draw the line?

I can only imagine how exasperated those agents affected by these rules must feel when trying to write ads that will still convey the right message to the right buyers. Selling property is hard enough at times without these added restrictions! I like to think we're a little more relaxed in Australia, and considering that not so long ago our entire international marketing campaign was based around asking "where the bloody hell are you?", I suspect that we may still be seeing highly offensive terms like "no pets" and "family friendly" in our real estate ads for a while yet.

Posted by Charles Tarbey on 27/03/2009 at 8:41 AM | Categories:

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