In Century 21's Super Bowl Strategy, Agents Help Tackle Life-Changing Events

By Barry Janoff

January 28, 2013: Last year, real estate firm Century 21 entered Super Bowl broadcast territory as a rookie, but one that had very high-profile friends.

The company's debut big game spot featured Century 21 agents alongside celebrities Donald Trump, Apollo Ohno and Deion Sanders.

The fact that the game attracted an all-time record TV audience of more than 111 million supported Century 21's Super Bowl spend. Total leads climbed 20% year-to-date and Web site traffic year-to-date was up more than 40% versus industry Web site growth rate of 4%, according to Bev Thornton, Century 21's CMO.

This year, Century 21 is back for the CBS broadcast of Super Bowl XLVII, again with its agents as the center of attention, but minus any celebrities.

Where last year's spot showed that Century 21 agents were "Smarter. Bolder. Faster" than the likes of Trump, Sanders and Ohno, respectively, this year's creative is intended to position Century 21 agents as being vital "during life-changing milestones."

The Super Bowl buys are part of a larger marketing strategy from Century 21 that has seen the company attach its name to "iconic media events," according to CMO Bev Thorne. That has included the Summer Olympics, horse racing's Triple Crown and as the official real estate company of U.S. Soccer, including the upcoming 2014 FIFA Men's World Cup and the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, leading to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.  

The company's lead Super Bowl XLVII spot, "Wedding," is scheduled to air during the first commercial pod coming out of halftime. The other spots — "College," "Subway" and "Mini-Mart"  — will air eight times prior to kickoff, according to Century 21.

The company will also sponsor the 3 PM-4 PM (ET) block during CBS's on-air activities as well as a video segment, "Home Town Heroes."

Century 21's lead agency is Red Tettemer & Parters, Philadelphia.

In "Wedding," a groom's soon-to-be mother-in-law says to him at the alter, "We're going to be one big happy family." The groom, realizing that he and his new bride will be moving in with her mother, feints.

The bride turns to the guests and asks, "Is there a Century 21 agent in the house?" One man responds that he is. "Can you help us find a new starter home?" asks the bride. "Sure can," he replies.

A voiceover offers, "Stay calm. There's a Century 21 agent in the house."

Later, as the newly married couple leaves the church, the Century 21 agent turns to the despondent mom and says, "Don't worry. I found them a great place just down the block." Which makes mom oh so happy. (See the full spot here.)

In "College," parents are dropping their son off at college. As they unpack the car, the university mascot, who has been involved in a nearby game of touch football, tackles the kid.

"Is there a Century 21 agent in the house?" the dad asks. A man in a nearby car who is helping unpack his daughter's college stuff responds that he is. "Great," explains the dad of the fallen kid. "Now that our youngest is off to college, we're ready to sell our house and move to the beach."

"I can help," the Century 21 agent says. As they speak, the agent asks the kid who is still on the ground, "Are you okay?" "I'm awesome," the kid's dad replies. (See the full spot here.)

"Mini-Mart" sees a couple at a convenience store buying hot dogs and lottery tickets. The guy scratches off a big winning ticket, then begins to choke on his hot dog. The wife asks, "Is there a Century 21 agent in the house?"

A woman responds that she is. "We need your help," the wife says. Holding up the winning lottery ticket, she explains, "Now we can finally afford a nicer home." The agent not only can help with that, but gives the husband the Heimlich maneuver, sending the offending bit of hot dog flying from his throat the floor.

(See the full spot here.)

In "Subway," a man and his very pregnant wife are on a train heading toward the hospital. Suddenly, she exclaims, "Too late. We don't have enough time." The guy jumps up and asks, "It there a Century 21 agent in the house?"

A woman in the subway car is an agent. "Great, we need your help," the dad-to-be reveals. "We're looking for a bigger home, something in a good school district." "What are you doing!!"" his wife shouts. "Tell her it has to have a new kitchen. A NEW kitchen!" The next shot shows the new mom holding twins. "Who wants a home owner's warranty?" she asks her two infants. "Yes you do!"

(See the full spot here.)

According to Thorne, Century 21 was cautious before committing to its second Super Bowl media buy.

"We purposely wanted to wait and watch what would happen with the numbers [after Super Bowl XLVI]" she said. "What we were looking to do was what we always look to do with that type of national advertising: Be in the middle of the conversation and be visible to those consumers who are considering a home purchase or a sale."

Regarding the new commercials, according to Thorne, "Our agents are at the heart of our business and their customers rely on them during critical times in their lives. These commercials celebrate our agents' dedication to customer service in a fun, creative way and will keep the Century 21 agent top-of-mind with consumers in advance of the spring home buying and selling season."

Q&A: Century 21 Takes Its Super Bowl Strategy To The House

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