Realtor.com, a leading provider of online real estate services operated by News Corp subsidiary Move, Inc., stepped out emphatically with the introduction of a new graphic identity and national advertising campaign that position the brand as the best – and truest – provider of real estate information and services for buyers, sellers and renters of properties in the U.S.
The new work was previewed here this afternoon by Move CEO Ryan O’Hara in keynote remarks to more than 2,000 industry leaders and real estate professionals gathered for the 2015 Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.
The campaign represents the biggest and boldest marketing initiative in realtor.com’s nearly 20-year history and unfolds against the backdrop of a marketplace that has been seismically altered by the recent acquisition of Move by News Corp and the merger of competitors Zillow and Trulia. At stake are online home listings and homes-for-sale ads exceeding $9 billion annually, according to a recent research report by Goldman, Sachs & Co. The campaign also coincides with the continued surge of realtor.com’s business, which has seen record growth in web and mobile visitors and the brand’s recent ascension to the industry’s #2 position.
The new graphic identity will immediately become a centerpiece of realtor.com’s communications on its website and mobile apps and in its advertising. The new look hinges on a two-tone logotype in which the “real” in realtor.com is called out in bright red letters and the rest of the name is presented in black. It is intended to communicate that while competitors may feature conflicting or inaccurate information, realtor.com® stands for what is real in real estate by delivering fresh and accurate listings and connecting people with the data, tools and professional expertise they need to discover their perfect home.
“Serving buyers, sellers and renters of properties with the best information and tools anytime, anywhere and communicating the value brokers and agents provide as trusted guides through the process is our utmost priority,” said Ryan O’Hara, chief executive officer of Move. “This is what we mean by what’s real in real estate – and what sets us apart.”
It is a message that is at the heart of realtor.com’s new advertising, which revolves around a series of 15- and 30-second TV spots and longer-form web videos featuring Elizabeth Banks, the Emmy-nominated actress, producer and director who is among Hollywood’s most sought after and versatile performers.
Ms. Banks’ directorial debut, the musical comedy Pitch Perfect 2, opens in theaters nationwide on Friday. This summer she will appear opposite John Cusack and Paul Dano in the Brian Wilson biographical feature film Love and Mercy, which is scheduled for release on June 5. Later this year, she will reprise her role as District 12 escort Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, the next installment of the global blockbuster Hunger Games franchise, which to date has grossed in excess of $2 billion worldwide at the box office.
Regarding her interest in participating in the realtor.com campaign, Banks said: “I’m a little house obsessed and looking for a new home right now, which made the opportunity to work on the new realtor.com ad campaign a great fit. I love the accessibility of realtor.com. My husband and I email each other photos of houses to look at and the other person can pull them right up – no matter where they are. The realtor.com app literally allows you to take the home buying experience with you everywhere in your daily life.”
The new realtor.com campaign – which is unified by the tagline “real estate in real time” – was created by Pereira & O’Dell New York, the company’s advertising agency, under the direction of Andrew Strickman, Move’s head of brand and chief creative. In it, Ms. Banks portrays a real estate-obsessed version of herself and delivers the message with humor, smarts, glamour and sass.
In the campaign’s first spot, called “Jim,” she observes the title character using the realtor.com website to find his dream home. “You’re a real-time real estate renegade there, Jim Bob,” she says. “An arbiter of accuracy. A phenom of fresh listings. A master of mortgage rates. A ruler of refinancing. An emperor of escrow. Jim, let’s live in that house together.”
The TV ads debut May 18 and will run across major broadcast networks and cable channels, including CBS – where a :30 slot has been secured on the eagerly anticipated final episode of the Late Show with David Letterman on May 20 – HGTV, Bravo, TBS, Comedy Central and Spike, among others. The web videos featuring Banks will break later.
The new ads are intended to appeal to a wide consumer target – from millennials looking for small, low-priced homes for themselves and their pets to young couples looking for more space on tight budgets to families looking for bigger, longer-term homes.
For repeat buyers, the realtor.com message will be delivered by integrated advertising positioning the brand as the best tool for homebuyers looking to make the smartest, most informed purchase decisions. For first-time buyers, who account for roughly one-third of U.S. home sales in a typical year, the approach will feature branded content presented in a so-called “edutainment” format positioning realtor.com as a trusted ally demystifying the real estate process.
The TV spots and web videos were directed by Fred Savage, the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actor, director and producer best known for his role as Kevin Arnold in the American TV series The Wonder Years. Savage’s directorial credits include episodes of the popular TV series Modern Family and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the critically acclaimed kids’ shows Phil of the Future, Wizards of Waverly Place and Zeke and Luther. He has also directed commercials for a number of leading consumer brands, including Farmers Insurance, the California Milk Board and Fitbit.