New Buick, check; handsome man, check; Modern House - of course!

Not knocking it, but I think we can all agree that there is a formula here, and every car company is doing it, or they are missing the boat. If you want to sell your snazzy new car you better have a modern house to pose your handsome man in front of. But handsome men are a dime a dozen. Its the modern house that sells the car. Because we all know if you want people to think your new car is cool, you better park it in front of a modern house.

Matthew McConaughey is the guy with the cool modern house, says Lincoln

Yup, for the record, when Matthew McConaughey is not driving a Lincoln  or talking to his dogs, he's living in this cool Modern House. Because Lincoln knows its not enough to have a huge star hawking their cars, they have to prove he's cool by showing that he lives in a cool modern house. Isn't it always the case?

Oscar Meyer lives in glass house, throws analogies

This one has been lurking over in the lead list mini blog for some time, and I thought I might as well promote it to the main feed. Its nice to see a commercial with a modern house that is not a car commercial for a change. Here Oscar Meyer builds a case for the transparency of their packaging with some humor about transparency in your opinions. Don't think we overlooked the transparency of the glass walled house in the background.

Cadillac brings the car, douche-bag brings the modern house.

In probably the most extreme example of the genre here we have Cadillac's entry into the Cool People Rock Modern House cannon. Its not enough for them however to just show their shiny car in the driveway of a beautiful modern house, no they have to have the supposed owner expound on why we Americans are so full of ourselves, and work harder than the rest of the world, and have our materialism as payback. Well, whatever, Mr. Tightpants is not making a convincing case here.

But one thing is for sure, the douche-bag is not camping out in a colonial, and he's not nesting in a McMansiony chateau. No, he has a full blown balls out killer modern house. Because Cadillac knows, when you want to make somebody look cool and successful, nothing better to park your product in front of than the modern house.

I'll take the house, throw in the car if you like, but next time spare us the pretentious lout.

some things never change

1955 Lincoln ad. Nuff said.

via Roger Wilkerson

Lexus has the fever, and the only cure is more modern house

Lexus has been consistent in their use of the modern house to sell their cars. Why would they stop now when it obviously is working for them.

House from Lexus ad.

I'll never grow tired of making this point, so here it is again. When Lexus creates a context around their product in their ads they want it to make their cars look as desirable as possible. So how do they do it? Time and time again, they choose to show the owners of their cars as also owners of beautiful modern houses. Not just any kind of house, but the modern house. Because they know, and we all know, that this will immediately signify that owners of their cars have impeccable taste, and that if you purchase one of their cars it will signify that you have impeccable taste, just like the modern house owners in their ads.

Lexus knows this, you know this, I know this, we all seem to know this. But our housing industry here in the US does not seem to know this. Instead of offering the kinds of houses that we all know that we admire and ascribe to good taste, they offer an unending parade of mediocre wishy washy sort of old fashiondy historicish looking mcmansions. Sigh. Maybe some day they will wake up and start offering what we all know is the real good stuff. The modern house.

Tip of the hat to Chad for the tip. And the house has been ID'd, thank you Mike:

The Bridge House by Stanley Saitowitz

Cadilac's big comeback starts with the Modern House

Just as all the other auto manufacturers, when it comes time to show your product in front of a house, they choose the modern house.

Screen shot 2012-08-11 at 2.46.10 PM

Cadilac has had to come a long way to win back the confidence of auto buyers following the near failure of GM. They needed to show their product in the best light, backed up by a setting that made their cars look like the choice of successful and tasteful owners. So of course they put their product in front of the modern house. Its clearly come to be the only choice for shedding good vibes on your automobile product.

Yet the housing industry seems to be missing this widely understood fact. Every ad agency serving every auto manufacturer knows that the modern house equals desireability. Yet the housing industry fails to offer the modern house as a choice. Hello? Is anybody home?

Here is the video:

chrysler's path to recovery stops at the modern house

We all know where Chrysler has been in recent years. Bankrupt, bailed out, taking a stab at it again, turning over a new leaf, chasing quality, reinventing themselves. This time they are going to do it right, freshen those designs, build that mystique, park their cars in front of the modern house.


Same old cars perhaps, but they have trimmed them up, new headlamps, new logos, new look. And to put that new image across to car buyers, this time they are going to do what works so well for those other car companies. They are going to show us that the kind of person that owns a modern house is the kind of person that owns their car. They are successful, smart, and cool, and Chrysler's products are one of the things that cool people gather around them. Everyone knows that, except maybe those mcmansion builders...

the modern house is no stretch for Nissan

In Nissan's new commercial for their Maxima sedan, the happy couple expecting a baby live in, what else - the modern house. Because, what other kind of house would this hip, yet successful young couple live in? A colonial? Nope. A giant McMansion? Uh uh.

Nothing but the modern house will do when Nissan wants you to understand that their product is owned by cool people. And a sure fire way to make yourself cool is to own their product too. So when Nissan sets out to make sure the owners of their car in the commercial look cool, well they have to be sure to put them in the perfect modern house. Not too big, not too fancy, but 100% modern. The message comes through loud and clear to us. How about the housing industry? Hello? Anybody home?

chevy goes modern for the volt intro

chevy volt

Over on the Chevrolet web site the new Chevy Volt has been rolled out, the hope of an ailing industrial giant, the Prius killer, the Hail Mary Pass, the last chance to get it right - call it however you see it. When GM closed its eyes and swung for that home run they did what any self preserving Fortune 500 company would do. They put their product in front of a modern house to make it look good.

chevy volt

Because we all know that the cool folks, the smart folks, the folks we want to be like, the folks that GM wants us to copy and buy a Volt, all live in a cool modern house.

But not the housing industry apparently. You remember the housing industry, don't you? I may disparage GM, but GM did not drag the rest of the world economy into the dirt with their own self indulgent out-dated relationship with their own dinosaur, the SUV. However the housing industry did manage to crash the world economy by encouraging us to flip ever bigger McMansions. Where is the Housing Industries Volt? Hmmmm? Where is its smart, green, efficient, and modern product to turn around its fortunes?

corning looks to the future, sees modern house

In this promotional video by Corning about the role glass will play in our future, the modern home plays a prominent role. But sure you might say, its a video about the future - of course it has a modern home. No, the house in the video is clearly a mid-century modern style home, likely somewhere in California and chosen to be the domestic setting for the video.

So even when making a speculative video about the future, Corning looks to our present to define the modern house. It makes sense though. We could hardly imagine all of these futuristic high tech tools and accessories integrated into a traditional home. It would be a complete contradiction. No, in their eyes the modern house is the inevitable future. But not here in the real world. Builders and developers haven't figured this out yet. Even when its all around them and in their face in popular media. They still remain blindly focused on traditional homes. Perhaps time moves backwards for them and the future never arrives. So long builders, its been nice knowing you...

hyundai gets a taste of the modern house


In this Edmunds Inside Line article the brand new and shiney Hyundai Genesis sedan is posed in front of the modern house to good effect. Its not clear if the photos were shot by Edmunds, or stock material provided by Hyundai. But either way the intention is clear. The car is the newest and greatest. If you want to emphasize that you show it in front of a house that everybody looking also understands is the latest and greatest - the modern house.

See it at Edmund's site.

Thanks to Jim for spotting this one. Reader contributions greatly appreciated.

acura strikes back at lexus - proves acura doesn't get it

Acura is running a commercial about overindulgence at the holidays which appears to aimed at the Lexus campaign featuring modern houses and cars as gifts. Only they don't have any objection to cars as gifts of course, they just want to try to make modern architecture look silly.

Nice try, but it backfires. The fool in the Acura commercial may be a fan of fancy gingerbread, but he's holed up for the holidays in a traditional house proving once again that in advertising only the cool people live in the modern houses.

lexus holiday campaign casts the modern house

Every year Lexus makes a holiday pitch to give its vehicles as Christmas gifts. As improbable as that seems for most of us, never the less they have something to say about who might be able to so casually gift an expensive automobile.

And surprise - our generous gift giver is a family with a modern house. And why not. Lexus wants us to envy these folks, they want us to want to be like them - buying a new Lexus by Christmas time. And who do they think will make us feel that way? The guy with the modern house, of course. They know the modern house will make their product look more desirable. Yet the US housing industry doesn't get this, do they? What's with that?

lexus uk also has the modern house as its ideal

In this Lexus UK as from 2007 once again the driver takes their car home to a severely modern house.

The UK is similar enough to the US to make our case. When Lexus wants to make their vehicle enviable, they show it parked in front of a modern home.

tron legacy movie leverages modern house


It appears from trailers released in Europe that the upcoming Tron Legacy movie will use a modern house for the home of its protagonists, the Flynns. I'm not sure if the home was ever shown in the original Tron movie, I think not, which means that this is a current appropriation. No doubt the movie makers turn to the modern house to imbue their heroes with the sense of cool the audience will admire. Of course we all understand the cool guy lives in the modern house. America's home builders, do they get it? Hmmmm.. not so much.

in the city of townville


The PowerPuff Girls are so rocking a Modern House!

surrogates movie has no substitute for the modern house

I just got around to watching last summers science fiction movie Surrogates. Its set in a near future where everything looks familiar, buildings, cars, yet the technology is clearly miles ahead of today. People stay home and go out in to the world via a robotic "surrogate" that they control from a virtual reality chair in their home. So while we get old and fat our robots remain vital and young. Whether or not that sounds good or bad to you, one thing that seems sure is that everybody in this near future lives in a cool modern home. Spoilers below if you have not watched the movie.
surrogates 1
This is the apartment of a minor character in the movie. Quite unexpected when they enter from the hallway to reveal this soaring two story modern dwelling.
surrogates 2
And here is the apartment of one of the main characters. I loved the look and feel of this place. Concrete waffle slab ceilings, and brick walls in the living room.
surrogates 3
And later on a brief scene showed an exterior view of the home of one of the other main characters. A night scene but clearly a modern house.
In many scenes of this movie they went to great lengths to show us that cities and buildings were still the same familiar places. Yet the protagonists all had modern dwellings, and strangely enough the antagonist as it turns out lived in a traditional dwelling. Interesting. Clearly deliberate. The modern settings were used here to distinguish the roles of these characters just like bad cowboys had black hats and good cowboys had white hats. So you have to wonder why the good guys got the modern dwellings? Obviously the film makers know which kind of house will make the protagonist appear cool, progressive, informed, admirable. And they count on us understanding that as well. Since we all have this figured out so well, then when is the housing industry going to get the message. HELLO!!

mcdonalds sips the modern coolade

Yep, you read that right. McDonalds. As in hamburgers in a cardboard box McDonalds. They are embarking on a program to literally modernize their image with a new corporate design aesthetic that is unabashedly modern.

So when McDonalds decides to reinvent themselves they don't turn to Colonial architecture, its not pseudo Tuscan, or euro Tudor. Its Modern. Modern Modern Modern. Because McDonalds knows that this will elevate the perception of their product and in return the entire brand. Yet home builders across the USA are prepping next years collection of Toomanypeaks, and Phoneyshmoney styles served up McMansion style. Come on home builders - time to get a clue!

Learn more about the McDonalds redesign in this article at FastCompany.

in The Lake House movie, even the old house is the modern house

This movie was called to our attention by reader Larry. He pointed out that the house featured in this movie, while not meant to be a new house was certainly modern. Not having seen the movie I was quite surprised by the house.

Lake House movie screen cap

The house is at once old, and thoroughly modern. It appears to be an iron age structure - evoking some of the earliest iron framed structures from the industrial revolution such as the Crystal Palace in London. Yet, for a house it is a glass walled box, with an open floor plan, the perfect Meisian home as glass box - the international style from the late 40s.

Lake House movie screen cap

Such a house would never had been made in the era it was presuming to be from, so we have to wonder why the film makers would put together such a hybrid structure to be the setting for this story? The fact that the house was old played a part in the narrative of the story. The one character an architect somehow acquired the home, or rented it from an older architect. But any old house would do for that. Why this strange hybrid. The house was meant to be the place of this temporal anomaly whereby the characters communicate across several years. In much the same way the house is an artifact at once in the industrial revolution era, and the idealized international style.

Lake House movie screen cap

If it was just an old home, it would not have been a significant part of the story. But here the modern home speaks to the concept of the story, even if it is only a ghost of a modern home possessing a structure from an earlier era. Once again popular media leverages the modern home to signify the specialness of a place. They count on us understanding that distinction, as we all seem to do. We all know the modern house is unique, special, desirable. Yet the home building industry continues to ignore it. Isn't it time they woke up?