Coldwell Banker Makes Agency Move

Siltanen & Partners Is New Creative Agency of Record on Real-Estate Company's $45 Million Account

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Michael Fischer
Michael Fischer

Coldwell Banker is tapping Siltanen & Partners as its new creative agency of record, replacing McKinney after a four-year run. The real-estate franchiser conducted an informal review, considering two other agencies that it declined to name.

While Coldwell said McKinney resigned the account, executives also said the company was at a "crossroads" and ready for a change. "We may have hit a few philosophical differences on how to go forward and thought that this might be a good time for a change," Chief Marketing Officer Michael Fischer told Ad Age .

Coldwell is among the biggest ad spenders among real-estate franchisers along with Century 21 and Re/Max, although the industry as a whole has spent far less in recent years as the market has tanked. The Coldwell system, which includes ad spending by individual brokers who have separate budgets, spent about $45 million in measured media last year, according to Kantar Media.

McKinney and Siltanen & Partners are both independent agencies. But Siltanen is smaller, which Mr. Fischer indicated was attractive. "[We] liked the idea that the principal Rob [Siltanen] is also the lead creative," Mr. Fischer said. "The time we spend will be spent with the right people at the highest levels." McKinney, of Durham, N.C., is the 170th-largest agency by revenue, while Siltanen, of El Segundo, Calif., is No. 556, according to the Ad Age Data Center.

McKinney President and partner Jeff Jones said in an email that "I hate resigning business, especially since the last thing we did together was overwhelmingly received by the Coldwell Banker system and was the highest scoring spot in their history."

The campaign by McKinney dramatizes the hidden dangers of buying, with spots including scenes of one home sinking and another so close to a runway that a speeding jet nearly clips the chimney. The kicker: "If the wrong house was this easy to spot, you wouldn't need us."

Mr. Fischer hinted that the new campaign -- expected to launch during next year's spring home-buying season -- might seek to emphasize more positive aspects of purchasing a home. Referring to the current campaign, he said: "We used the negative gag to address how good our agents are, how they can help, and I think we can do that in a different way not necessarily relying on the gag, making it more of a story."

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