Seth Nelson, aka "Dollar Store Ryan Gosling," on viral Uptown condo video: Haters gonna hate

Nelson pours himself a martini in "Date Night."

Nelson pours himself a martini in "Date Night."

Seth Nelson, star of the bro-larious "Date Night" video that swept across the internet like wildfire last week, isn't bothered by all the attention he's receiving these days, even if much of it is ridiculing.

In fact, since Nelson is the Realtor selling the EdgeWater condo advertised in the ad, the clip's newfound viral-ness could help line his pockets.

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"I've certainly had positive feedback asking for more details about the condo, asking more about what we do as a real estate group and what kind of services we provide," Nelson, 34, tells us from California yesterday. "We've definitely gained some nice traction... we haven't sold it, but since the video we've had lots of interest and had offers, but it's a pricey unit and we've yet to find the perfect fit."


Nelson says the condo featured in the ad -- unit 503, which overlooks Lake Calhoun -- is on the market for about $2 million.

"It's more of an affluent crowd [in EdgeWater] with the price points in the building -- the lowest-price units are in the $500,000s to over $3 million for penthouses," Nelson says. "People have made certain comments about the lifestyle. Am I a proponent of the old-school Uptown hipster punk scene? Absolutely. I lived around the the lakes and love that about Uptown, that it's a cultural mecca."

"But in doing a video, I can't appeal to the masses, can't strike a chord with hipsters, punks, and business professionals," he continues. "So I had to roll with what I perceived to be the demographic of who is looking at a condo of that price point."

Many of the higher-priced units in EdgeWater were sold as nothing more than concrete shells, with owners bringing in their own architects for custom build-outs, Nelson tells us.

Nelson says the idea for "Date Night," which was filmed last September, stemmed from his observations of real estate trends in other markets.

"I practice real estate on the west coast, in Orange County -- it's more of a supplemental practice -- and I've always seen that trends, whether it be marketing trends or anything else, seem to trickle in [to the midwest] from the coasts," Nelson says. "So I took a lot of influence from what I saw in LA, Orange County, New York, Australia, Miami, places where people are going outside the box with unique and fun marketing techniques."

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"I went to Mike [McCaw, owner of the Spacecrafting photo/video company] who's at the forefront of real estate marketing, and said, 'What do you think of some sort of video that would really do three things -- provide exposure for you, for me, and hopefully sell a listing of mine?'" Nelson continues. "He said he loved the idea and that he was operating under the same premise -- this is the way real estate marketing is headed, let's take a run at it."

Nelson says the main objective of the clip "was to capture and encapsulate all the special things about living in that building."

"We wanted to showcase how you could go across the street and jog around the lake, sit on the balcony and watch the sunset with a martini, but it's not in real-time," he continues. "It's not meant to be taken so literally, as if it's almost a reality home video of me and my family... we didn't think that in-depth about it."

With regard to the criticism that the video glorifies drinking and driving by showing the "Uptown bro" driving his Maserati to the bar and back again after a couple drinks, Nelson says, "Would the video have done what it has done if they shot video of me pounding orange juice and walking?"

"It's not as sexy and appealing, and that's what we were going for," Nelson says. "People can say, 'Only an idiot drives two miles to Calhoun Beach Club' if they want, but am I also a jerk for making a girl walk two miles in heels?"

While "Date Night" certainly qualifies as an unequivocal success, it languished in internet obscurity for months after it was posted to YouTube in November.

"As of Monday it's over 30,000 views, but certainly when we do a video like this and spend a lot of time, energy, and money, you hope it gains traction, and I'm surprised how long it took," Nelson says. "We had it out there as of November and it just got some views daily, a little here and there, but then as of [last] Monday it just went in a completely different direction."

As for the Steve Neuman's infamous characterization of him as the "Dollar Store Ryan Gosling," Nelson says it doesn't bother him at all.

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"I'm certainly not offended," Nelson says. "Whether it's a dollar store or whatever, to be linked to someone like Ryan Gosling certainly isn't negative."

The comparisons to Gosling are nothing new for Nelson. In fact, his Facebook profile picture makes light of the resemblance.

"It's something I experience on somewhat of a daily routine," Nelson says.

The woman in "Date Night" is actually Nelson's wife, Jenny.

"She's a bit more reserved than myself. Back in the beginning it took some talking to get her on board to do the video, just because she was worried about what people were going to say about her and so forth," Nelson says. "But it's really water off both of our backs."

"It's been an interesting week -- it's definitely unexpected," Nelson says of his newfound internet notoriety. "My wife and I are just sitting down, cracking open champagne. All we can do is what we can control. It's been a crazy week with lots of lovers and haters, but we're gonna sit down as a family and enjoy our lives."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]