Did you know the TV show “FRIENDS” was originally called “Insomnia Cafe”?


In our last post, we talked a little about headlines when you are trying to sell a home.

In the entertainment industry, the “headline” for any production is the title of the show.

Could you imagine if the hit show Friends was called Insomnia Cafe? That was, in fact, the original name – which was quickly followed by Six of One, then Friends Like Us.

Ugh… horrible names!  But….

By Sept. 22nd, 1994, NBC rolled out the show “Friends” to nearly 22 million people.

It was an instant hit.

I will explain how this all rolls back into our world of real estate in a second.

But first – let’s look at the original description of the show when the creators were pitching it to networks.

“It’s about sex, love, relationships, careers, a time in your life when everything’s possible. And it’s about friendship because when you’re single and in the city, your friends are your family.”

Does that zero in on a target market?

Sure does. It spoke to millions of single people and those of us who remember being single in our 20’s and 30’s. It also spoke to a new generation of kids who were just coming out of college wondering what it was like to get that first job and struggle through first jobs, first dates and so on.

Now – how does all this relate to us and our day to day work?

#1 – Get started.

Choose a name. Choose a neighborhood. Choose a paint color. Do something to get started. This hit show went through a number of missteps and edits before it finally took off and was released to the public. The producers had so much feedback they knew it was going to be a hit.

#2 – When you are down, you’re not out.

If and when you do fail, you’re not out of the game.  You still have contacts, and more importantly accumulated knowledge. 

The creators of Friends had just had their previous show canceled. Here is an excerpt from an interview with the cast and creators –

Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane created “Friends” at a low-point in their careers. A sitcom of theirs, “Family Album,” had just been cancelled by CBS. The future seemed very uncertain.

Even in the face of massive failure, this group went on to produce one of the top TV shows of all time.

Don’t give up. Keep going.

#3 Pay close attention to your headline.

How you present your home to the public is terribly important. When you write your description of your property – appeal to what people WANT in their lives.

Most people want some solitude in the suburbs or some excitement in the city center. GIVE THEM THAT!

Don’t sell a condo. Sell a location near restaurants and theaters packed with amenities.

Don’t sell a single family home. Sell a quiet hide-a-way on a secluded secret street no one knows about hidden just off a major roadway.

Think about improving your properties so that when it comes time to write your headlines and sell your property – it’s nearly effortless.

When you know your target market – that’s exactly what this entire process is like – effortless.

And a bonus lesson here –  just like the show Friends – when you target a market, people from outside your target markets may show up and support you. Who knows – maybe that exciting downtown condo you thought would be purchased by a fresh college grad will be purchased by a newly single widower wanting to be near some “action” again. (Yes, that happened to me.)

Lastly – A few of our long time WREIA members replied about the ad man David Ogilvy mentioned in our last post. His books were instrumental in my early career as they have been for many small business people.

His passion about headlines is evidenced by his quote –

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

In fact, if you want some evidence of his genius, I just found this link a few days ago. It’s packed with a few of Ogilvy’s famous and favorite ads.

For instance:

There is an interesting story behind his Hathaway Shirt ad.  You will learn some of the back story to this ad Monday night. It’s especially exciting as a small business owner.

Moving on…. now that you understand the importance of headlines, and have seen a few professional and timeless examples – WHERE DO YOU POST YOUR ADS?

Facebook? Maybe.

Google ads? Maybe.

We mentioned great photos – must be Instagram right? Perhaps.



Fox News or CNN? Huge audiences, certainly an option.


A lot of the answers to these sites are VERY dependent on your budget and the time you can devote to engagement with your target audience.

Customer Engagement is a major topic for our WREIA meeting on Monday night. You have to start a conversation with a customer in order to ultimately get some business done. (That’s why we spent so much time on this headline topic.)

Let’s face it. We live in a digital age. If you can’t get the first click, you probably won’t get the final sale.

Join us on Monday, September 11th. We will be hyper focused talking about marketing tactics and specific advertising for small businesses that brings results.

Getting your message in front of the right audience has never been more important.

You can grab a seat for next Monday night or become a WREIA member here.


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FOCUS and make 2017 a great year for your business!

Let me know how I can help you,

John Peterson
Washington REIA Network, President
Profitable Property, Founder