When Scott Parkin, a Twin Cities real estate broker, plastered a full-color photo of himself on the backs of six Twin Cities bus benches, the goal was always to help raise his profile. He got some recently from Phil Jones a Twin Cities artist, who surreptitiously dressed up as seven Twin Cities real estate agents, including four women, and pasted the photographs of himself as those agents over their own photos.
The “Faces of Real Estate,” which is featured on Jones’ website, shows before and after photos of six bus benches with Jones in real estate drag, including Jones as Coldwell Banker Burnet agents, Susan Stryker and Annie Child.” Sitting next to himself in the photo, Jones is wearing a purple knit sweater and pearls like the ones Susan and Annie are wearing in the original photograph.
For Edina Realty agent, Lynn Morgan, Jones is wearing a wig with wispy bangs and hoop earrings and scarf. And for his Parkin impersonation, Jones sports an identical white shirt and a wavy blonde wig (Parkin, by the way, does not wear a wig).
Though in all cases, Jones’ is sporting a 5 o’clock shadow, but the recreations are uncannily similar to the originals. And hilarious. The spoof got picked up by BuzzFeed this week and has gone viral, receiving hundreds of thousands of hits.
Parkin, the broker at Verve Realty, doesn’t mind the attention. And it’s not the first time the benches have garnered attention. He's had the late-night calls from drunk college students leaving the White Castle near one of the benches, and he's used to being stopped in grocery stores and restaurants by people who clai to know him.
“When the dude at Bobby and Steve’s identifies me as the bus bench guy, I knows it’s working,” said Parkin.
At this point, Parkin has been overwhelmed by calls and emails, but no sales leads. Yet. “It’s always about long-term exposure.”