September is Marketing and Branding Month at Inman. That means we’re talking to the chief marketing officers at major brokerages about how the pandemic is changing their jobs and what it means for agents. We’re publishing a suite of tactical Inman Handbooks for marketing on digital portals. And we’re looking at what pages of the traditional marketing playbook still work. Join us all month long.
What makes a video ad compelling? On Aug. 27, real estate giant Zillow released a 30-second ad as part of its “Ready for a Change” marketing campaign that aims to help people imagine the possibilities a move can bring amid a pandemic that has redefined what “home” means.
The ad is from the perspective of someone driving down a street and encountering all kinds of home types and environments. A children’s song by Malvina Reynolds, “Place To Be,” follows the driver along singing “Everybody has a place to go, everybody wants a place to be.” The message at the end is: “When you’re ready for a change, we’re ready to help.”
To dissect the ad from a marketing standpoint, Inman reached out to Philadelphia-based creative marketing agency The Perception for a third-party take and also reached out to Zillow for their take.
Their thoughts are below:
Wick Vipond, senior vice president of agency partnerships, The Perception:
First, I really like this ad. The COVID-19 pandemic has largely relegated us all to our homes and put a magnifying glass on how well our current living situations accommodate our lifestyle. With so many companies committing to remote working scenarios post pandemic, many of us now have the ability to capitalize on that outcome and move across town, across the state, or even across the country.
Alissa Reiter, vice president of brand, Zillow:
The coronavirus pandemic has reshaped what people want and need in a home. We’re in a moment where people across the country are considering upsizing, downsizing, moving closer to family, rethinking where and how they want to live — sparking a trend dubbed the Great Reshuffling. More than ever, people are envisioning their next chapter, driving traffic to for-sale listings on Zillow 36 percent higher than this time last year.
The ad reflects that trend, offering viewers a world of possibilities to inspire those considering a move to a home that could better meet their evolving needs. The national TV spot takes the viewer on a journey down the ‘Impossible Street’ — a block of homes from vastly different geographical regions, architectural styles, and representing a range of diverse lifestyles, tastes and locations. It’s as if home browsing on Zillow across the country came to life all at once.
What is the target demographic for this ad?
The Perception’s Vipond: The ad is targeting more of a psychographic segment than a demographic although I imagine there is a particular focus on tech and business hubs like San Francisco and New York where home prices have become largely untouchable or within reach, but not without sacrifice. Our jobs play a huge role in dictating where we choose to live in order to be close or close-ish to the office, and have the office not be too far from home. If your job no longer ties you to a ZIP code, you are free to potentially find a better lifestyle scenario. So it is less about age and household income, and more about targeting an audience that is most likely to be exploring a change. The ad shows this in showcasing many different types of homes and landscapes, inviting the consumer to explore their many possibilities.
What is the ad selling?
The Perception’s Vipond: The ad is selling help in finding your next perfect home. It does this by introducing (or re-introducing) the notion that you really can live anywhere, with an offer to help when you are ready.
Zillow’s Reiter: In this TV spot, Zillow is offering a world of possibilities and a way forward for those looking to take the next step in their lives, whatever that may be. Whether it’s an immersive, digital home shopping experience, an easier way to sell through Zillow Offers or a streamlined rentals platform, Zillow can help when they’re ready to make a move.
What is the marketing strategy behind the ad?
The Perception’s Vipond: [T]he marketing strategy is to capitalize on the fact that the new reality for many of us post pandemic will be that we can work from anywhere, so we can live anywhere. If you are considering a search for a new home, do it with Zillow. (I also assume that Zillow analyzed their mountain of data and because most of us are home and tethered to our devices, it showed a sizable increase in home browsing.) The ad conveys this strategy by showing us homes of all shapes, sizes, elevations, and backdrops to represent the vastness of their coverage and to appeal to a large and diverse home searching audience.
Zillow’s Reiter: Zillow’s mission is to reimagine the real estate process and give people the power to unlock life’s next chapter. In this campaign, we want to help support our customers through a life change and inspire people on their journey home. Zillow recognizes that those life changes are hard, but they help us grow and thrive, and even in a world that feels uncertain, you can take small steps forward with the right support.
What is the desired outcome of the ad?
The Perception’s Vipond: The desired outcome is for anyone looking to find a new home, to find it through Zillow. The call to action drives this home pretty clearly, no pun intended!
Zillow’s Reiter: Zillow wants to help and support as many people as possible navigate a change in their lives, whatever that change means for them. In our current world of slow progress and small victories, Zillow recognizes that not all change needs to be sweeping. Sometimes change is taking a 3D Home virtual tour of a house outside your neighborhood, or exploring refinancing options that could pay off. On Zillow, the possibilities are there when the time is right for you.
What is the ad’s core message?
The Perception’s Vipond: The ad’s core message is to find your next home on Zillow. I definitely think the message and ad overall is convincing. It is tough to approach this without bias because I am familiar with Zillow and how expansive it is, but it is safe to assume this is also indicative of a large swath of the target audience as well. The ad isn’t meant to introduce us to Zillow, it is reminding us all of the benefit of the platform, calling us to action when ready.
Zillow’s Reiter: When you’re ready for change, Zillow is ready to help.
Any thoughts on the decision to shoot the ad as if someone were driving down the street?
The Perception’s Vipond: The concept and approach to shooting the commercial from the perspective of someone driving down the street allows the brand to cover a variety of home styles and types in order to appeal to the broadest audience. It is a relatable yet aspirational way to convey the robustness of Zillow as a tool to find your next home without just literally showing people searching the site for houses.
The song choice by Malvina Reynolds struck me as interesting at first, but it is calming and maybe sparks nostalgic memories of home for some. It complements the ad and doesn’t distract from the mission.
What did you think of the ad? Let us know in the comments below.