In its latest fanciful campaign starring Elizabeth Banks, Realtor.com is most assuredly there for you. Not-you, on the hand hand, is plumb out of luck.
Here’s how it works.
“Your dream home is likely the same as four other people’s—or more,” explains Andrew Strickman, Realtor.com’s head of brand and chief creative. That means “there’s an urgency to finding that dream home before anyone else,” he says. “We give those dreamers an advantage over everyone who isn’t using Realtor.com, aka the not-yous.”
In the launch spot breaking today, we follow a typical “you”—in this case, a bearded, thirtysomething hipster type (nice denim, dude)—and an army of his sorta-but-not-quite look-alikes (the not-yous) on a journey through the streets of Los Angeles.
Because “you” shopped with Realtor.com, he got his dream home, complete with Banks wearing a fiery red dress that matches the paint job on the front door. All those not-yous can just keep looking. Suckers!
“We know that humor has been a terrific way to translate the stress and excitement of buying a new home into something that resonates with consumers,” Strickman says. “Our expectations is, not only will this campaign elevate the idea of not-yous into the cultural conversation, but also drive people to find their dream home first using Realtor.com.”
But couldn’t some viewers find the somewhat surreal concept a tad confusing?
“If you haven’t checked recently, even the Urban Dictionary recently added ‘not you’ to its lexicon,” Strickman says. (Indeed, that peerless resource defines the term as “either the most humiliating, or most relieving two words in the human language.”)
In the clip below, Banks, appearing for her third straight year in ads for Realtor.com, talks about the evolution of the creative and admits she’s been a “not-you” and missed out on the house of her dreams.
Aww, poor Elizabeth Banks! Guess she wound up living in a garden shed for a while.
“Our process hasn’t been about writing new campaigns for Banks as much as it’s been, ‘How can Banks make our new articulation of the realtor benefit memorable?’ ” says Dave Arnold, executive creative director at Pereira & O’Dell New York, which developed the campaign. “For this round, we wanted to make it 100 percent clear that if you’re looking for a great home, in a great neighborhood, at a great value, you’re definitely not the only one interested in that property. ‘Not-you’ wants it, too.”
About 100 extras appear in the launch spot, many of them cast as “not-yous,” and that same conceit, with various tweaks, drives upcoming ads in the series.
“Since a ‘not-you’ doesn’t need to be your doppelgänger—because there are plenty of people who don’t look like you but are looking for the same dream home you are—we wanted the ‘yous’ and ‘not-yous’ to feel like they were of the same geographic tribe: people who push the same strollers and work out in the same gyms,” Arnold says. “It became more about characteristics, body language and wardrobe.”
POD has gone the Twilight Zone route a few times before. Last year’s ads with Banks found the actress popping into homebuyers’ dreams. Most famously, the agency’s award-winning “The Beauty Inside” campaign for Intel and Toshiba featured a character woke up as a different person each day.
Head of Brand & Chief Creative: Andrew Strickman
Director of Brand Marketing and Strategy: Roop Ghangas
Associate Creative Director: Seth Roberts
Agency: Pereira & O’Dell, New York
Executive Creative Director: Dave Arnold
Creative Directors: Jake Dubs, Sara Worthington
Copywriter: Nate Mayer
Art Director: Lily Fu
Head of Content Production, New York: Tennille Teague
Associate Producer: Rhea Phipps