Agent slammed for leaflets which ask, ‘Has Covid been a blessing in disguise?’

An estate agency has been criticised for distributing leaflets asking if the coronavirus pandemic has been a ‘blessing in disguise’ for the housing market.

The leaflets, sent out on behalf of JP & Brimelow in Manchester, were posted to residents in Chorlton and Old Trafford yesterday.

The leaflets, which can be viewed below, asked, ‘Has Covid been a blessing in disguise for Chorlton and Old Trafford?’

They go on to state that ‘the property market has actually fared very well this year’, and points out that based on Land Registry data, the price of a detached home in the local area was, at an average of £425,000, ‘8.4 per cent higher than the same period a year before’.

‘Given the year we’ve had, the change [in average property price] is very impressive indeed,’ the flyer added.

Some angry people have taken to social media to vent their fury at the insensitive marketing literature.

Here are just some of the comments posted on social media yesterday:

One commentator wrote: “This leaflet has been distributed to households in South Manchester from the estate agency JP & Brimelow. If you feel that it is as crass and uncaring as I do, please feel free to share this and let them know.

Another added: “Wow, so many tone deaf thoughtless statements in one leaflet.”

The negative feedback continued: “WOW you absolutely disgusting people!!!!!! Whoever signed this off needs sacking!!!! Yep it’s been a true blessing NOT. Lost loved ones? Had serious mental health problems? Never mind your house is worth 8% more never been so appalled by something ever ! Disgraceful & distasteful….. you should be ashamed.”

Another: “How on earth can you use this international tragedy as a sales tool? That’s utterly despicable!!”

And finally, “They can’t write that – it’s terrible. They are the heartless agents of the north. Despite the recent boost for the local housing market, JP & Brimelow’s comments are a slap in the face for those who have been affected by this tragedy. It’s just unbelievable.”

JP & Brimelow has responded to the criticism by issuing an apology on Facebook, which you can view (left).

But it has not been particularly well received by users of the social media platform.

Here are just some of the many replies:

One: “Presumably you’ll be mailing everyone who received it an apology, or would that cut into your bottom line too much? It costs nothing to apologise on Facebook, let’s see something more than a token gesture!”

Two: “What you really mean by this very shallow “apology” is “Oh s…, this is going to cost us a lot of money” which is clearly all you Estate Agents think about. Clearly you’re trying to cash in on the pandemic by tempting people to sell to line your pockets but many of your potential customers will have suffered greatly pandemic. I’m sure the average ICU nurse is absultely gleeful at the 7% increase in their property value as they spend every waking hour desperatly trying to save the lives of those who have been made seriously ill by this virus. Tone deaf doesn’t get near how insensitive this garbage is. Still, it’s totally predictable for an industry that appears to always put profit before people. Generally speaking the biggest bunch of lying crooks going Estate Agents if you ask me. Hope you didn’t spend too much of your precious cash on them leaflets

Three: “Donation to a foodbank as a gesture of understanding that this hasn’t been a blessing for very many?”

Four: “I don’t think an apology cuts it really. How long did it take and how many of the team did this pass through to get from initial idea to printing and distribution? Did not one person flag that the tone of the leaflet was utterly heartless?! You can say you got it wrong, but actually it’s incredibly telling about what kind of a company you are and the values you really believe in. In my experience Manchester has a much kinder ethos than this, I don’t see how you fit this community as a company.”

Five: “JP & Brimelow are nothing but parasites sucking the life out of a community. Disgraceful behaviour. Hope nobody ever does business with them again. Clueless uncaring buffoons.”

Six: “Aside from the astonishing lack of empathy in the face of a public health crisis, why would you think that yet more property price rises is a good news story? Especially when so many are losing their jobs or their businesses are going down the pan.”

Seven: “The people sat accruing value on their houses are not likely to be the people struggling through this pandemic the most. Stop suggesting you’re finding a silver lining or ways to cheer people up, this isn’t suggesting anything positive other than more profit for your company. Any chance of an actual apology? For reference, saying ‘we had a message but it came out wrong’ is not an apology for the message itself.”

Eight: “Shock headline…. Estate agents act like heartless morons”.

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  1. AlwaysAnAgent

    Their apology is enough to satisfy most normal people. It seems to be sincere and genuine and you can’t expect much more than a business  confessing to a mistake in an open way.
    The irony is, most of the complainants won’t be homeowners, they will be tenants raging against the housing market rather than a mistake made by their local agency.

    1. Hillofwad71

      “Their apology is enough to satisfy most normal people. ”

      A prawn sandwich moment

      Yes an  apology was all they could do.However,probably not enough  to diminish the reputational damage of trying to make a pitch  on the back of a pandemic .Certainly doesn’t look the work of an office junior and  bypassed the partners

      Akin to Adidas  , the official sponsor of the Boston Marathon who sent out a marketing email which contained the subject line, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!”


      1. iainwhite87

        Not sure that particular fopar overly damaged Adidas .

        made a mistake , they have put their hands up , move on

        1. Anonymous Agent

          Not criticising but trying to be helpful for future usage somewhere more important than here:

          Fopar > Faux Pas

  2. WatchingwithInterest

    Knowing Eddie he won’t bat an eye about his mistakes as he is all about businesses. This business normal floods the area area with its local messages and I think the mask has slipped. I bet they are feeling really purple this morning.

  3. Whaley

    Misjudged but as somebody whose been prone to the odd Ratner moment himself I think you do need to cut them some slack.

    You can clearly see the point they were trying to get across and I’m guessing no one proof read it . If you’d seen the marketing ideas in my head ….

    On top of that they’re a good agency and the people there are likewise.

  4. Mark Manning

    I’m with Whaley on this. Have met Eddie a few times and he is a great guy and I know this is a business with a great focus on the local community they serve.

    Just one of those moments we all have in business but in the end they do say that no publicity is bad publicity and I am sure this will be the case for JP & Brimelow.


  5. iViewProperty

    The irony is that Eddie and JP & B do far more than most agents/businesses to keep everyone involved safe from Covid – if those people who complained understood the efforts they’ve gone to & the costs involved, they’d see a very different picture. Having said that, you can see why people are worked up about it – not sure how this leaflet slipped through the net.

    As for Eddie not batting an eyelid about it – that’s utter rubbish!

  6. smile please

    Ouch, ill thought-out promo (Bit like the time when i was a young neg trying to get funeral homes to display a promo leaflet on properties that needed probate, silly and naïve and i learnt my lesson after a tearing down from my boss).

    Still not like he is responsible for covid which some posts in the local rag read like.

    No idea of the firm but many on here seem to speak highly. Sure they will move on and take on board the lesson learnt.

  7. itsgreatupnorth

    beyond disgusting. I am all for some outstpoken advertising but that lot want their heads examined. Totally off the wall and beyond reproach. How anyone can sit their defending these idiots is beyond me. Gets the whole trade a bad name.

  8. Eyereaderturnedposter12

    Let’s be frank…this is an appallingly ill-conceived bit of content (from whichever end of the spectrum your views may come).

    I’m not familiar with the firm in question, but as another has stated there seems to be goodwill toward it, and it’s Director/Owner…fine.

    Having read the article, and then scrolled down to the comments section…a couple of ‘curiosities’/thoughts, spring to mind:

    -The comments are surprisingly (unusually, for an article on the subject of COVID) supportive, of what can described as an incredible display of poor judgement. It’s great to see a bit more support between industry colleagues.

    – Far less controversial comments have been made by OPs on PIE…and have been met with derision and abuse. Not to mention, there being a distinct lack of the usual ‘one comment wonders’, that seem to materialize on COVID related articles (never to be heard of again).

    -I should imagine that were a comment posted on PIE asking whether ”COVID was a blessing in disguise?”…such a comment would be roundly lambasted and the writer chastised (possibly rightly- as I fail to see any angle from which the current circumstances could be seen as a ‘blessing’).

    Curious…could it be that some comments on PIE, are less subjective and more character driven?



    1. AlwaysAnAgent

      Maybe their unreserved apology has melted our cold hearts.

      1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

        I would never suggest that any of PIE’s readership are cold of heart…Luke warm, on occasions, possibly 🙂


  9. paulgbar666

    Let us say the next pandemic is the Black Death.

    Presumably we would have this EA proclaiming massive accumulation of property wealth with increased prices by survivors and wage increases for surviving workers with employers having no alternative than to pay more.

    All of course stating the bleedin obvious.

    But certainly not something any sensible EA would ever mention!!!

  10. PropertyD

    Ad is a bit off but in light of the total mess that the UK has been led through this year pointing fingers at agents who have got it a bit wrong is laughable Big question is………..what happens after the stamp duty holiday ends and the economic carnage kicks in with the knock on effect to the prop market ? Have a feeling that ill thought out leaflets will be the least of folks worries.

    1. paulgbar666

      There won’t be any carnage.

      The property market will just be very subdued.


      Of far more importance to the UK property market is the flat cladding issues


      2.5 million worthless properties mostly mortgaged.

      This has the capacity to cause another credit crunch.

      Bank mortgage books will be severely degraded.

      Remediation costs are just too much.

      Bankruptcy makes far more economic sense.

      If banks don’t pay for the remediation costs then Freeholders will repossess meaning banks and leaseholders lose legal title over the property.


      CGT is a minor issue compared to the cladding issues.


      1. PropertyD

        No, honestly, I think that Covid, furlough, the Boris balls up and the end of the stamp duty hols will pretty much knacker the Uk property market for the foreseeable future !

        1. PropertyD

          Be like Paul The Eternal (and no doubt young and naive) Eternal Agent Optimist paul, if your listing 50% of what you listed in November 20’ in November 21’ I’ll buy you lunch at your choice of restaurant in 2050


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