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Front Page - Friday, December 6, 2019

Spillers brings lighter touch to real estate marketing

Realtor Dustin Spillers abhors “cheesy” headshots like this one and is on a mission to inject humor into real estate marketing through his satirical website, LookWhatDustinDid.com. - Photograph provided

The most interesting man in the world doesn’t always buy or sell a house, but when he does, he uses Dustin Spillers.

Or so states a meme made by Spillers, a Chattanooga Realtor.

In another meme by Spillers, a woman squints at something off frame. The punchline at the bottom says, “Me looking for a flaw in using Dustin Spillers.”

Then there’s Spillers’ take on the photo social media made famous: As a man turns his head to ogle a beautiful woman, his girlfriend looks on in shock. Only in this version, the beautiful woman is Spillers, the man is “You,” and the girlfriend represents other Realtors.

There’s more where those came from on Spillers’ satirical website, LookWhatDustinDid.com. The idea, Spillers says, was to sweep away some of the cobwebs in real estate marketing and produce something that would appeal to young buyers.

“I was seeing all these real estate ads with cheesy headshots, outdated graphic design and a phone number, and it was boring,” he says. “A new generation of homebuyers is coming that loves memes. So, my wife and I started making them.”

Spillers even inserted himself into some of his creations, including a fake ad for a product called Pumpkin Spice Dustin. Featuring a headshot of Spillers imposed over a pumpkin, the ad promises a Realtor who “tells it like it is,” offers “good advice” and (wait for it) “sells things.”

Spillers’ phone number is on there, too, and the headshot is decidedly cheesy.

“Yes, I have a cheesy headshot,” he says, hanging his head in mock shame.

Spillers didn’t stop with memes. Click on the dry-sounding “Projects” tab loads an assortment of bogus home improvement tasks. In one, Spillers travels back in time to tell his aunt not to cover her hardwood floors with Chewbacca-brown fur carpet.

“In another, I travel to the future to help people remove shiplap,” he says, referring to the popular wooden wall siding, a trend he finds baffling.

Spillers’ coup de grâce, however, might be the school bus-yellow stickers with his web address. He’s been handing them to anyone who will take a few.

One lucky recipient covered his skateboard with the decals. And a friend of Spillers’ who does stage production work for musical acts like Beyoncé, Metallica and Ed Sheeran has been slapping them on random spots around the world.

This has led to some unexpected interactions with people who were curious enough to visit the website and then contact Spillers by phone.

“I received a text message from someone in Arizona who saw my information at the Grand Canyon,” Spillers says. “He texted, ‘What’s good?’ I’m from Louisiana, so I replied, ‘Gumbo.’”

Occasionally, Spillers’ offbeat humor misses its mark. One of his memes features Chuck Norris in full “Walker, Texas Ranger” garb declaring “Dustin Spillers is the Chuck Norris of real estate.”

A play on the Norris jokes that made the rounds a few years ago, the point was lost on a group of youth, who had never heard of Norris.

“He’s the reason the Earth is still spinning,” Spillers, who suddenly felt old, cried.

“I guess they didn’t grow up watching Bowflex infomercials,” he says. Norris actually pushes Total Gym, but Spillers makes his point.

Spillers did indeed grow up in Louisiana – specifically in West Monroe, home of “Duck Dynasty.”

“My godmother went to school with Willie and Jase,” he says.

Spillers, now 31, spent eight years as a service adviser at an auto dealer. When his income dipped dramatically after moving to Chattanooga, he tried his hand at flipping houses.

This placed Spillers on a path that led to real estate, first at Re/Max Renaissance and now at Ho¯m Group, a Nashville-based brokerage that’s in the early stages of establishing a presence in Chattanooga.

Spillers and his wife, Whitney, have already made the Scenic City their home. The proud owners of a shiplap-free house also are associate pastors at Chattanooga Church. In addition, Spillers is a founding member of a worship band called Fire and a Hilltop, which performs throughout the city.

Most of Spillers’ days, nights and weekends, however, are filled with work. He’s just not sure how much of this business is a result of people finding his website.

“I’ve made contact with a lot of people in other states, which might help my business someday,” he says.

In the meantime, Spillers will keep his tongue firmly in his cheek as he tries to convince people he’s the Chuck Norris of real estate.

“He’s also the John Cena of real estate,” a meme featuring the actor and wrestler, says, “because he wins, not because he’s invisible.”

Maybe that’s one of those only Spillers gets.