MAKING SENSE -- August 2, 2012 at 11:53 AM EDT
Young Spaniards: Move Out or Resign Yourself to Sex in the Car
Vacant apartment homes in Spain, from Paul Solman's 2010 story Spain's Housing Market Slide Adds to Europe's Economic Troubles.
This story at Bloomberg the other day caught our attention: the lengths to which Spanish real estate owners are going to get kids to move out of their parents' homes. The message: get a home of your own or your sex life will be seriously cramped.
I found the ad online. [Editor's note: given the nature of the video, we are not linking to it here. It can be found by Googling 'pilladas 45' and 'idealista.'] A NSFW warning: for grown-ups only. And maybe even for only some of them. The ad is pretty explicit, but that's what's telling -- the sense of desperation, tinged with humor, that seems to characterize much of Spain at the moment.
While most of the ad is a song in English over couples pretty much en flagrante, the Spanish tagline translates as, "Find yourself a home. Go to Idealista, the leader in real estate sites."
We sent the ad and the Bloomberg story to one of our Spanish correspondents, Ana Westley, who recently reported for us on the shared economic pain in Spain and the privileges of the Spanish Catholic Church at a time of major government cutbacks. Many thousands of you have been reading her posts here, as well as those of her husband, Jose Martinez Soler.
Of course we've seen the ad -- interrupting some of our favorite TV series (The Firm, Homeland, The Wire, etc.) at prime time. Even for us aging Woodstock generation, it's a bit over the top. But we aren't scandalized and evidently the campaign has made an impact on young people. We'll get our daughter Andy's opinion. X-rated ads, so what else is new?
Though this ad is surely the steamiest, there are also other ads from the same ad agency, though not as explicit, that seem to promote/glorify a debauched, degenerate lifestyle of raunchy sex, booze and, by association, drugs. (The other raunchy cologne ads are not necessarily from the same ad agency that did the idealista campaign. It might be, but I have no idea.) But, hey, we aging boomers have seen it all. Nothing shocks us. And Spaniards of all ages are surprisingly tolerant of anything goes.
Just last week, I saw a brief story in the International Herald Tribune saying Spanish emigration (excluding resident foreigners, i.e, immigrant workers) has gone up 44 percent January to June, compared to the same period the year before (which had increased then 26 percent). So emigration still seems more realistic than renting a place of your own!
There was an article in the IHT the other day about middle-aged couples with children out of work, getting granny out of the retirement homes to collect her pension to help make ends meet.
Times are bad, but you don't see more homeless on the streets than, say, London or Paris. Robberies haven't gone up. Delinquency the same as usual. That's what people say, anyway. Haven't seen press stories about, say, the rise of homelessness or robberies -- just stories about families living off of grandpa's pension.
Finally, a response from Ana and Jose's daughter Andy -- Andrea Martinez Westley, whom NewsHour viewers met, along with her parents, in a story of ours on Spain's housing market two years ago. (How do you say 'plus ça change' in Spanish?) Andy's views, needless to say, are entirely her own.
The idealista.com ad is not really targeted at the age 20-29 group living at home, as they have no money to rent or pay mortgage rates of 1,000 euros a month, the lowest rates in Idealista. Rather, the idea is to make a splash, stir up a polemical debate, be talked about. And in that, they have certainly succeeded as the daring ads have gone viral and everyone is talking about them. Now everyone has heard of Idealista.com and so the real rental/mortgage target -- young adults who have already made it, have a good job with steady income, and may be sharing an apartment with a roommate, now know to look in Idealista.com. Ditto for the 30-40 age group.