Super Bowl

Century 21 to Return to Super Bowl for Second Helping

Real Estate Concern Says First Time Was the Charm, Sparked Web Traffic

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Real-estate concern Century 21 is returning to the Super Bowl in 2013 for a second go-round on the marketing roster of the Big Game, according to the Realogy unit's chief marketing officer.

A scene from Century 21's Super Bowl commercial in 2012
A scene from Century 21's Super Bowl commercial in 2012

Century 21 expects to air a 30-second spot early in the third quarter, just a little past the end of the halftime show, said Beverly Thorne, Century 21's CMO. The company plans to soon start discussing creative concepts with its agency, Red Tettemer of Philadelphia, she said. As part of its deal with CBS, which is broadcasting the event in 2013, Century 21 will also be a presenting sponsor of part of the network's pre-game broadcast and have its ads run throughout the day.

In 2012, Century 21 used the Super Bowl to make a radical change up in its marketing strategy. The company had for some time put the majority of its efforts into web-based advertising and stayed off TV. Then it used an ad berth in NBC's broadcast of the 2012 Super Bowl to reinvigorate interest in home sales and purchases during what has arguably been the worst era for that sort of activity in decades.

"This was a 'preference play,'" said Ms. Thorne, who added that Century 21 wanted to sound a note to consumers and also the real estate industry, not only getting its name out to potential home buyers or sellers, but also attracting new agents.

"We wanted to recruit the best and brightest," she said. "We were speaking as much to the industry as we were to the consumer. We were claiming the time frame here, just before the spring selling season, calling the turn in the market, calling a strong vote in support of our agents. We were calling all strong agents to come to our brand, if you will."

Beverly Thorne
Beverly Thorne

Results were hard to ignore, according to Ms. Thorne. Traffic to Century 21's web site is up 40% year-to-date, she said, citing data from ComScore, while traffic to the industry overall is up just 4%. Buzz generated by the Super Bowl ad "turned into leads, turned into appointments, turned into closed transactions," she said.

She declined to comment on the price the company paid for its Super Bowl berth. The average cost of a Super Bowl ad package has been running between $3.7 million and $3.8 million, according to ad buyers and other executives familiar with the situation. Earlier this week, Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS Corp., said the network had sold some Super Bowl advertising for figures in excess of $4 billion.

Century 21 joins a 2013 Super Bowl advertising roster that also includes PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Audi of America, Cars.com, GoDaddy.com, Hyundai/Kia, Best Buy, Mercedes-Benz and Coca-Cola.

Here's the Super Bowl spot that Century 21 ran in 2012:

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