RE/MAX Canada tells story of the homeowner and the frog

Who: Re/Max Canada, with Arrivals + Departures, and True Media Toronto for media. There is also a North American agent recruitment component developed by Toronto’s Mixtape (ads below).

What: “Your unfair advantage,” a campaign aimed at reinforcing the company’s position as a leader in the real estate industry.

It is Arrivals + Departures’ first major brand campaign for the company since winning the business in October. Anthony Volpini, senior director of marketing for Re/Max Integra North America, said that the company was attracted by the agency’s  work for SkipTheDishes with Jon Hamm, as well some of its humorous work for Fallsview Resort.

When & Where: The media plan is targeting Ontario and Atlantic Canada with TV, online video, social, display and digital partnerships. The target is a younger demographic: first-time buyers and move-up buyers 45 and under.

Why: Re/Max’s awareness is already “pretty much off the charts,” said Volpini, so the focus here is on lead generation and bumping up its favourability score.

“We feel like this industry is a bit commoditized… where consumers feel that whether they’re using Re/Max or Royal LePage or Century 21, they’re getting the same agent,” he said. “We wanted to remind them that Re/Max has the most experienced agents [and] the most productive agents, so they’re getting an unfair advantage.”

The campaign arrives amid a blisteringly hot real estate market, with home sales climbing 6.6% between January and February to set another all-time record, according to Canadian Real Estate Association data. The average home price in Canada rose 25% in the past year to $678,091, with CREA attributing the growth to the pandemic and the rise of remote working.

How: It’s been a bit of a week for “peculiar” ads in Canadian marketing, and the campaign’s two video ads definitely have a bit of that “WTF?” stopping power. “It’s totally out of our comfort zone, and the comfort zone of the whole sector,” said Volpini of the TV/video creative. “We felt like in real estate everybody’s played it safe for the last 20 years, and we wanted to do something a little edgier and unexpected.”

While humour isn’t entirely uncommon in real estate, Volpini said that it’s often done in expected ways, playing off the relationship between agents and clients. There is only a fleeting reference to a Re/Max agent in the two videos, which Volpini said was a conscious decision. “We didn’t want the agents to be a focal point,” he said. “We wanted it to be more about the consumer.”

“Get more eyeballs” opens on a teenager standing in front of the mirror with a razor. He’s decided not to shave the peach fuzz that he thinks qualifies as a “moustache,” and his facial hair is talking to him, telling him that, just like his parents choosing to list with RE/MAX, he made a good decision. “Now we’re both guaranteed to get more eyeballs on our prime real estate,” says the ‘stache. (It’s the second video spot to prominently feature a teen moustache in the past year, following Metrolinx’s ad as part of its communications strategy around its various transit projects.)

In “The Prince,” a woman is standing in the living room of her new home, staring in shock at something off-camera. Oblivious, her husband enters the room chatting about how happy he is that their real estate agent got them everything they asked for, before he, too, is stopped in his tracks.

When the perspective shifts we see a topless man wearing tights reclining in a large fish tank. “What happened to the frog?” the husband asks, before the “prince” explains that while they used RE/MAX to find their dream home, he used the wife to break the spell. “It has stopping power, which is obviously great on social,” said Volpini.

The OOH ads are more conventional, likening the unfair advantage that RE/MAX provides to never hitting a red light, having Shakespeare text a crush or having a mermaid on your swim team.

And we quote:“Our organizations share a like-minded entrepreneurial and independent culture that has allowed our teams to hit the ground running. This new campaign launches a fresh brand approach that we believe will resonate with Canadians.” — Mike Bevacqua, partner and president, Arrivals + Departures

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