Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
At least one person who can afford the rent at NEMA thinks this ad is ridiculous.
Marketing campaigns for luxury apartments are usually pretty cringe-worthy interpretations of human aspiration.
Don't just take it from me, someone who can't afford a $3,000 one-bedroom unit. One tenant of NEMA, a new luxury apartment complex in San Francisco's Mid-Market, was so put off by the building's latest promotional video that they wrote a letter (which they forwarded to SFist) begging them to stop making it seem like the building's populated exclusively by young heterosexual whites with fantastic bodies (to NEMA's credit, we did spot two non-white people in the video, although one was cast as an employee).
Here's the tenant's missive:
Just saw the promo video, "a day in the life at NEMA" and as a recent tenant of NEMA, I'm really offended. First off, the casting call was pretty appalling... and sure enough the video confirms that whoever is over at the marketing efforts at NEMA is extremely out of touch. AND. SHOULD. JUST. STOP. You're just ASKING for bad press. Also, if you're going to create such a video, at least make one that isn't so cheesy with bad videography. It looks like it was filmed for free by a first-year art school student.
So let me apologize on your behalf for putting out such a horrific and inaccurate video, one that paints an unrealistic picture of the people who live at NEMA. I'm embarrassed for you and embarrassed to be living here now.
We aren't "Banana Republic" models and we don't lounge by the pool all day. We span a lot of nationalities, body types, and sexual orientations. Thanks for only showing attractive heterosexual people; you really know how to make a bad thing worse. I've really enjoyed getting to meet all the different types of people that live at NEMA and this video doesn't show that. (Why didn't you just use residents, instead of models, that ACTUALLY live in NEMA for your video, since the casting call happened well after tenants moved in?)
So let me paint a real day in the life at NEMA picture... the people that live at NEMA are beautifully diverse. We aren't all techies. We aren't all heterosexual. We are not this video.
A tenant of NEMA
In a city famous for its unaffordable housing and tech workers lacking basic empathy, NEMA is a local poster child of sorts. The high-end development sits in what was once one of the city's rougher areas, described in the 1980s by a local journalist as "le grand pissoir" for its foul, man-made scent.
Now, it's home to Twitter's headquarters.
NEMA's latest promotional video. One YouTube comment reads: "Wow! This is nothing like living in San Francisco at all."
The new promotional video isn't the first time NEMA, "an ultra-contemporary, highly-amenitized, tech-savvy rental community designed for San Francisco’s culture-driven lifestyle," has drawn eye rolls. It even has its own parody account, titled "ENEMA Lux Apartments" (@rentenema).
A good sign that NEMA may be a little too caught up in its own universe? ENEMA's tweets are only slightly more absurd than NEMAs:
As lifestyle pioneers transcending farm-to-table, ENEMA is farm-to-residence, redefining and amenitizing the humble veal crate as lux living— ENEMA Lux Apartments (@rentenema) November 14, 2013
We're committed to caring for our special needs residents. Gluten-free wine biscuits always available (for a small surcharge) in the AquaBar— ENEMA Lux Apartments (@rentenema) November 14, 2013
Nothing jumpstarts your weekend like a hot cup of kopi luwak. Our solarium doubles as a free-range civet farm to ensure fresh-pooped flavor.— ENEMA Lux Apartments (@rentenema) November 9, 2013
And tweets from the actual apartment complex:
Nothing says 'Welcome Home' like 24/7 staffed lobbies that bring Zen tranquility together with mission control capabilities...— NEMA (@rentnema) November 5, 2013
NEMA's beautifully designed indoor and outdoor amenities offer residents the best of the authentic San Francisco lifestyle every day.— NEMA (@rentnema) September 26, 2013
Oh, and they had a guy pose in a bath tub for their open house:
lol they're paying this dude to sit in a bathtub on display pic.twitter.com/thXvmPbEwy— Kevin Montgomery (@kevinmonty) November 22, 2013
Not that any of this matters to the bulk of NEMA's target demographics, apparently. Though it hosted its grand opening just late last month, the building is already fully leased.