A founder of Purplebricks, Michael Bruce, suggests there was nothing wrong with the controversial Commisery TV ads that contributed to making his agency so unpopular with the rest of the industry.
Bruce, who founded Purplebricks with his brother Kenny, was effectively pushed out of the agency in mid-2019.
Now, in his first major interview since quitting the company, he is asked whether he would change any of the marketing or pricing strategies used by Purplebricks during his five years with the firm.
He defends the pricing, saying some other agencies were cheaper than Purplebricks at different times during the firm’s history, and are cheaper than it is now - and he denies that it was a unique significant factor in driving down agents’ fees generally.
Quizzed specifically on the Commisery ads, Bruce says: “The reality of the situation though is no one predominantly in general at all instructs an agent off the back of the fact that they have an advert on TV.”
He also says that it has always been clear from the website and advertising that consumers were told what they were paying for in terms of upfront fees.
The only moment of apparent regret expressed by Bruce concerns some of the agency’s international activities: it expanded rapidly into Australia, the United States and Canada, and now all three businesses have been either shut down or sold off.
He admits he made some mistakes and has learned some lessons from the international failures.
The second half of the interview is given over to the Agents Together charitable foundation that the Bruce brothers, and other industry figures, have set up.
The foundation launched earlier this summer, spurred on by the Coronavirus crisis and its possible effects on the agency industry, and involves mentoring and practical assistance to agents.
When asked whether the foundation is a PR exercise to smooth the path of the Bruce brothers back into the agency industry, Michael Bruce says such an idea is “nonsense.” He says he’s been working for 40 hours a week on the foundation - and people can judge whether that indicates a genuine interest in the subject matter.
However, he says it has been well known for some time that the brothers have been exploring another business - known originally as Launch B and more recently as the brand name Boomin - which is launching later this year.
The interview with Michael Bruce is conducted by well known industry commentator Chris Watkin - who is himself voluntarily giving time to the Agents Together foundation - and you can see the 35 minutes video below.
You can see the latest news story from Estate Agent Today on Bruce’s Launch B/Boomin project here.