RE/MAX International Inc. was the only real estate franchise promoting its brand in national television advertisements during the first three months of the year, the company said in announcing a new series of 30-second spots.

Last year, RE/MAX had a 50 percent share of national TV ad impressions generated by real estate franchises, the company said, citing figures from Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Century 21 was next with 23 percent, followed by Coldwell Banker (21 percent), and ERA and Prudential, which each had 3 percent of national TV ad impressions in the category.

Impressions are an estimate of how many times an ad is seen, which depends largely on how often it airs and the popularity of the program it appears on.

A number of brokerages have stepped up their online marketing presence during the downturn, sometimes in conjunction with reduced expenditures on advertising in traditional media like print and television.

After Century 21 announced in January that it would stop running national TV ads to increase the company’s online presence (see story), RE/MAX International claimed it had the national television advertising market virtually to itself in the first quarter of 2009 (see story).

Coldwell Banker — which according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus was one of five national real estate franchises running national television ads in 2008 — reports that it began a national TV ad campaign on March 30, the final day of the first quarter. ERA, another company under the Realogy Corp. umbrella, stopped running ads on the national broadcast networks three years ago (see story).

While Century 21 and ERA have said they get more bang for their buck from online advertising, RE/MAX is trumpeting its dominant position in national TV advertising as a competitive advantage.

"While many of the real estate industry’s biggest players are scaling back their TV buys due to economic realities … RE/MAX remains committed to being visible where consumers still spend a significant amount of their leisure time — in front of a television set," RE/MAX boasted in a press release.

The press release was tied to three new 30-second spots featuring "straight talk" from RE/MAX Chief Executive Officer Margaret Kelly, that are running during prime-time network programming, newscasts and cable TV. The ads are posted on RE/MAX’s YouTube channel.

In one of the spots, Kelly urges homeowners who have been worried about what their property may be worth — or would-be homebuyers wondering if their dream home may now be affordable — to "ask a RE/MAX agent, or go to RE/"

"We’ve all heard about the trouble in the housing industry," Kelly says in the ad. "The fact is, with all the talk of a national real estate market, your town, your neighborhood, your home, or the home you’d like to buy are each unique. The national conversation may not apply at all."

RE/MAX says it "vigorously promotes its brand" with a mix of television, cable, radio, print and Internet advertising, and has recently made the move into social networking. In addition to YouTube, RE/MAX also maintains a presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Correction: Coldwell Banker reports that it did have a TV advertising presence in first-quarter 2009 — it began a TV ad campaign on March 30, the final day of the first quarter. This article has been updated.



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