The Story Behind This Amazing (and Very Real) Ad for a Realtor With Laser-Shooting Eyes

Patricia Houlihan shows off her superpowers

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Looking for a real-estate agent whose superpowers are visibly evident in the form of piercing lasers shooting out of her eyeballs? Give Patricia Houlihan a call today!

Houlihan, who runs her own "personal real estate corporation" in Vancouver (oh, and she's also a lawyer), put up a single laser-eyes bus-stop advertisement in Burnaby, B.C., a couple of months ago. It took some time, but someone there finally took a photo of it this week and posted the Imgur link to Reddit—where it shot to the front page, as Redditors wondered whether the brilliantly campy creation was possibly real. 

Well, it is. 

"I am sick of boring ads with all realtors saying the same thing, so I wanted something interesting, outside the box and fun … hopefully something people would get a laugh out of," Houlihan tells CBC.

Check out the full ad here:

The ad was dreamed up by Mike Catherall, creative director at Immersion Creative in Vancouver, who tells AdFreak that he made it a few years ago—and Houlihan finally decided she was OK running it.

"I dug up that campaign from the archives. I said, "What do you think, should we give this a shot?' She always thought it was kind of funny, so we were like, 'Sure, why not?' " Catherall says. "What I love about it is that it is irreverent, fun and totally different than the literally hundreds of realtor ads in Vancouver at the moment that are all so boring and cliché."

The ad took a while to get picked up in social media because Catherall and Houlihan were both a little reluctant to draw any attention to it themselves. 

"Honestly, we put zero effort into getting buzz," Catherall says. "We should have posted it on our Instagram accounts, Twitter, Facebook—anything. But we didn't. I think Patricia and I were both a little wary of the ad at first, so we just kind of left it up to the public to decide what to do with it."

So, will people look at this ad and see a reputable real-estate agent they should use? Or will they see a cyborg ready to fry them to a crisp with her frickin' laser beams?

"I think anyone with a sense of humor will understand that it's just a fun way to get her name out," says Catherall. "Patricia's been in the game a long time. She's a third-generation realtor in Vancouver. And she's in the top, top echelon. Anyone who knows her knows she's one of the best out there. And now, a lot more people know her name." 

See different versions of the ad below, along with some fun remixes by Redditors. And for more on Catherall's work, check out the Immersion Creative website, including a very peculiar spot for a Korean barbecue sauce called Sempio. 


Some remixed versions of the ad on Imgur: 

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
Publish date: June 1, 2016 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT