• Zillow has rolled out a new advertising campaign to raise brand awareness.
  • The campaign features non-actor Zillow users talking about what "home" means to them. It includes television, radio and print initiatives.

In this industry, almost everyone can name the most popular consumer-facing real estate listing portal — but that’s not necessarily the case among most consumers.

Jeremy Wacksman, chief marketing officer at Zillow, said that the company began working on the “Finding Your Way Home” television ad campaign in 2013 as an effort to raise brand awareness, “helping consumers learn what the category is, what companies like Zillow can offer and that you can shop for homes online,” he explained.

The first new campaign since then, “Home,” debuted this week and is the first new television ad campaign Zillow has unleashed since its inaugural “Find Your Way Home” campaign.

The ads — like the one above featuring Gunnar — started running on broadcast and cable networks on Monday. Gunnar and his daughters aren’t actors; they’re “real people sharing their own personal stories of what makes home special to them,” according to Zillow’s press release.

How Zillow found the ad subjects

“This campaign is building on the insight that buying a home is an emotional decision, scary, exciting — people want to dream and also be rational about what they can afford,” said Wacksman. “Why we decided to move or not is unique, but there’s a lot of commonality in what drives us in making those decisions.”

Wacksman said that Zillow did a call for subjects “who wanted to talk to us about their experiences moving and what home meant to them.” They conducted interviews with the participants and then invited a select number to a studio for filming with noteworthy documentary director Errol Morris to cut the commercials.

“We weren’t sure how this was going to go; these aren’t scripted,” said Wacksman. “As soon as we got people in the studio, it became super evident that they are compelling and you relate to them.”

The company is launching eight of these spots to begin with, and four more ads in this consumer-oriented series are planned for release, for a total of 12 ads and 12 stories. The “Home” campaign will also feature radio, print and digital spots.

“Zillow‘s unaided brand awareness has grown from 9 percent, before advertising, to more than 31 percent, making it the most widely known brand in its category,” said the company in its press release.

You can see all the ads at zillow.com/tv or on Zillow’s YouTube channel.

Email Amber Taufen

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