CENTURY 21'S NEW ADS GET ENERGETIC DOSE OF PITTMAN;REAL ESTATE FIRM ENLISTS CARTOON CHARACTER, BOLD COMPARISONS

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Brash Bob Pittman, who helped found and brand MTV and later, as CEO of Time Warner's Six Flags theme parks, brawled with Walt Disney Co., is entering the real estate wars.

The CEO-managing partner of Century 21 Real Estate is trying to grab the consumer's attention with a campaign not likely to go unnoticed by the competition, especially Re/Max International.

For almost three years, Re/Max and Century 21 have been locked in a lawsuit over claims of which is the leading real estate company.

The new campaign from Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, broke last week and replaces the marketer's cliche broker with a hip cartoon character who compares Century 21-the brand and its claim of leadership in home sales-to non-competitive powerhouses like McDonald's Corp.

`A JAW DROPPER'

"We wanted to be talked about," Mr. Pittman said. "So we created aggressive, hard-hitting advertising. People think they know us so we wanted to give them a jaw dropper."

The effort, which runs through September, is expected to account for the majority of Century 21's $40 million in spending this year.

It coincides with the company's 25th anniversary and the celebration of its $1 trillion in sales, a factoid that will be a focus of print ads comparing the number to McDonald's $250 billion in sales for the same time period. Four different spots also will run on network, cable and spot TV.

Also last week, Michael F. Trainor joined the real estate marketer as senior VP-marketing and public relations, a new post. He comes from VP-marketing, Snyder Communications.

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