Brochure brouhaha

Domain Northside issues apology after controversial brochure spurs backlash

Domain Northside issues apology after brochure spurs major backlash

Domain Northside controversial brochure
Domain Northside is facing a backlash after its leasing brochure hit Reddit on Monday. Brochure by Domain Northside

A marketing brochure that describes the “quintessential” shopper at Austin’s Domain Northside as a “classy, trendy, well-heeled woman between 30 and 60 years old” who most likely identifies as “Anglo, Jewish, or Asian" has caused an uproar on social media over the past two days.

Domain Northside is a mixed-used project in North Austin owned by Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group. The Domain, an adjoining mixed-use project, is owned by Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group. The brochure was produced by Domain Northside; the Domain was not involved in its creation.

Page 17 of the 50-page brochure, apparently published in 2017, is the part of the document that’s drawn fire from some social media users. Posts about the brochure, which was designed to lure potential tenants, recently popped up on Reddit and Facebook.

The controversial page of the brochure features a photo of a seated woman who has long, dark hair; is wearing a dark leather jacket and a shirt with a black, gray and cream-colored plaid skirt; and is grasping a to-go coffee cup.

The verbiage on Page 17 of the brochure begins innocently enough:

“Domain Northside serves a diverse group of new class consumers from across the region, including the thousands who lives in its luxury apartments, stay in its boutique hotels, and work in its high-tech office buildings.”

Okay, that inoffensive description makes sense. But then we launch into the 360-degree characterization of the “quintessential” Domain Northside shopper.

Aside from being a “classy, trendy, well-heeled woman between 30 and 60 years old” who’s most likely “Anglo, Jewish, or Asian,” this wonder woman:

  • “Cares about how she looks and feels, and spends generously on the upkeep of herself and her family.”
  • “Is understated, but wants to be noticed and wears brands that earn positive attention from others.”
  • Carries a Louis Vuitton, Celine, or Givenchy handbag.
  • “Wears rag & bone skinny jeans and Frye boots during the day, and changes into an LBD and Jimmy Choo heels at night.”
  • “Drives a BMW 6 Series to go out with her girlfriends at night, and by day she drives a Range Rover sport.”
  • Wears a David Yurman ring, an Alexis Bittar bracelet, and Kendra Scott earrings.
  • “Is married, but also highly successful in her own career.”

In a statement provided to CultureMap Austin, a spokesperson for Domain Northside apologized for the brochure.

“At Domain Northside, we are proud to serve the residents of the Austin community and sincerely apologize for the insensitive and inappropriate language used in a document, which has since been removed from circulation and is no longer in use,” the statement said. “These words do not reflect our values, and we remain dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion. We will ensure that future efforts reflect the values of the community in which we live and work.”

On Reddit, the Domain Northside brochure has defenders and detractors.

Said one Redditer user: “On the one hand, I find this marketing tripe disgusting. On the other hand, [it] nicely encapsulates both the true Domain [Northside] inhabitant, as well as those who cater to them. In that sense I admire it. It couldn’t be a better parody of itself.”

On the Facebook page of Defend Our Hoodz - Austin, commenters as a whole have been less charitable, with one referring to the brochure as “bougie nonsense.”

“So much to hate here,” another Facebook user wrote, “but I think my least favorite part is how she’s married ‘but’ has a successful career.”