NEW CENTURY 21 ADS TOUT COMPASSION, CLOUT: NO. 1 REAL ESTATE FRANCHISER STRESSES ITS POWER IN $40 MIL CAMPAIGN

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Century 21 Real Estate Corp. is trying to position itself as the real estate agent with compassion and clout in an estimated $40 million campaign that breaks tonight.

The first of four spots, starting on NBC's "Dateline" but running on prime-time comedy and action series and cable TV networks, features shots of happy home shoppers to the tune of Christian rocker Amy Grant's song "Power."

The tagline: "More power to you."

"The concept . . . has tremendous legs and staying power," said Mike Trainor, exec VP-marketing at Century 21. "It means something different to everyone."

FIRST WORK FROM ARNOLD

The campaign is the first Century 21 work by Arnold Communications, Boston, which won the business from Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, last September. Century 21 is a unit of Cendant Corp.

Previous campaigns hyped Century 21's rank as the largest real-estate franchiser. It is neck-and-neck with Remax International for No. 1 in market share, according to REALTrends.

This effort was important because most Century 21 outfits are relatively small, despite the size of the franchise, one industry observer said.

"Century 21 wants to create the image that they're not just a small-firm franchise," said Weston Edwards, president of consultancy Weston Edwards & Associates.

EMOTIONAL ELEMENTS

The new campaign builds on the old by focusing on the emotional and personal elements of searching for a home, said Elesia Birnbaum, VP-marketing communications at Century 21.

"We needed to be energized," she said. "What was missing from the [old] campaign was the emotional element of the transaction."

Century 21 tries to add this tenderness by throwing in lines such as, "It's not just listings. It's listening" and "It's not just closings. It's new beginnings." during the spots.

Century 21 plans to break a print effort in March magazines, including Eating Well, Metropolitan Home and Woman's Day.

Internet advertising is being handled in-house.

"We'll be carrying through the `More power to you' theme on everything," Ms. Birnbaum said.

Grey Advertising, New York, handles media buying.

Contributing: Laura Petrecca.

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