A video on YouTube, meant for a real estate agency's internal use and parodying a supposed rival agency boss as Adolf Hitler, accidentally made its way into the public realm, drawing criticism and disgust.
The 4 minute 36 second video, Mike Pero Real Estate Takes On Hitler Real Estate, puts words to a famous clip from the movie Downfall depicting the last 10 days of the leaders of Germany's Nazi regime in a Berlin bunker. The scene from the film has been used by other people for numerous video parodies in the past.
Mike Pero said the video was made for internal use, the public was not meant to view it and no widespread consumption was intended.
The video had 629 views by yesterday morning before being classified for private viewing only, with permission needed.
"I can't make a video. It was a university student and I thought it was funny and we used it internally and it got uploaded. Obviously it's a joke and it was supposed to be private. It's awkward," Pero said.
John Waymouth, an Auckland barrister specialising in real estate law and practice, said he had at least one real estate agency client of Jewish heritage who was not laughing.
"It's serious. It likens other real estate agents to Hitler," Waymouth said. Complaints were lodged with authorities but no action was taken.
Harcourts chief executive Hayden Duncan expressed disgust.
"I think it's absolutely appalling. It's very, very poor judgment and reflects more on the people who made it," Duncan said.
In the parody, one of Hitler's men tells him: "We're losing market share big time." This territory for example, we've lost two agents and now we've lost 40 per cent market share. He's got agents all round the place. Our sales are down 65 per cent," the captions say, showing Hitler's men pointing to a world map as the leader looks on speechless.
"All these areas are being bought. My leader they are paying money to become franchise owners."
Hitler responds: "No problem. I've seen people like Pero come and go."
"My leader, he is gaining momentum", Hitler is told, "he is expanding in our best cities."
Hitler seethes: "Whoever warned me about Pero leave the room right now."
To the three remaining men, Hitler explodes: "He's only ever done mortgages! How can he come across to real estate? That's our domain."
Pero said it touched a raw nerve because his business was making inroads.
"People just need to take it for what it is," Pero said.
The clip continues: "How dare Pero sell real estate," and pans to women outside, sobbing quietly.
"We've been charging vendors higher fees for bloody ages. We've been short-changing our agents. Now it's all coming to an end.
"I had those agents down on my asset register. I was going to take the gain."
One of his men replies: "I can see they're all gonna want their own wee real estate agents. Damn it."
Hitler replies: "How can he get away with this?"
His man says: "My leader, you must have known he was coming."
Hitler throws a stick and shouts: "We should have known this new act was going to be trouble. Cosgrove has a lot to answer for", in a reference to the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 by Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove.
"I thought we were set for life. I thought we'd use the agents to boost our branch figures then cash up.
"We had no competition so why the hell would we drop our fees?
"The New Zealand public were happy paying thousands more with us," Hitler says.
"And then there's the bloody TV ads. I turn on Coronation St, there is Pero's silly grin."
One of his men asks: "What are we supposed to do?"
Hitler says: "The Pero model pays agents 80 per cent and not 50 per cent or 60 per cent.
"It gives agents equity and at the same time offers a fairer deal to vendors. The Pero model has won."