Coldwell Banker’s Adorable ‘Somebody to Love’ Ad Extends Commitment to Pet Adoption

Homes for everyone

Headshot of T.L. Stanley

It’s kind of a toss-up who’s more bedraggled and pitiful in this new ad for Coldwell Banker—the sad dude sleeping alone in a queen-size bed, or the stray mutt cowering on a dirty blanket in an alley. Talk about hangdog times two.

Then they meet, and the clouds lift. All together now: Awww.

The real estate giant isn’t specifically trying to cue waterworks (even though it’s a nice byproduct) but rather to continue the connection between its creative campaigns and its partnership, now in year three, with nonprofit rescue group

That’s a former shelter pup, Scout, starring in the new ad, “Somebody to Love,” which ends by sharing the impressive stat that the collaboration has adopted out more than 20,000 pets since 2015.

“We believe that everyone and every animal deserves a home,” said Sean Blankenship, the brand’s CMO. “We never said, ‘Let’s piggyback onto a societal topic just to touch a nerve.’ We wanted to continue to touch people’s hearts, while backing it up with the ongoing Adopt-A-Pet alliance.”

Coldwell Banker has gone against the grain in the real estate category by highlighting the emotion rather than the transaction of home buying. There are no realtors shaking hands with new owners over a “sold” sign to be seen.

The first ad in the series, “Home’s Best Friend,” debuted during the Oscars in 2015 and focused on the joyous, tail-wagging reunions that happen when owners step across the threshold at the end of a long day away. (It was shot from the jumping, slobbering, hero-worshipping canine perspective.)

Agency Siltanen & Partners keeps the puppy-love quotient high in the new commercial, launching Monday on television, digital and social, by telling the story of two lost souls finding each other at a pivotal time. The result is heartwarming on the grab-a-tissue level.

Animals rescuing people, just as much as the other way around, isn’t a new concept for ads, branded content and PSAs. But it’s no less affecting in this case.

Scout, chosen for her scruffy but adorable look, couldn’t have been more professional, never tiring of repeat takes during the Los Angeles-area shoot and always hitting her marks, said Blankenship, who was on set to take in the action.

“I swear she spoke English,” he said. “She was a total scene stealer.” Check out behind-the-scene footage and read more of Scout’s origin story here.

The marketing effort has engaged the brand’s 84,000 real estate agents, who have hosted hundreds of local pet adoptions via links with their community shelters. “That’s the holy grail,” Blankenship said, “when your national work can connect and activate locally.”

The brand is planning a national pet adoption day, Home for Dogs Project, in September and has teamed for the first time with Givewith, a charitable platform that brands can use to underwrite consumer donations, to channel more funds into Adopt-A-Pet.

Client: Coldwell Banker
Agency: Siltanen & Partners
Rob Siltanen, ECD
Jonathan David, director

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@TLStanleyLA T.L. Stanley is a senior editor at Adweek, where she specializes in consumer trends, cannabis marketing, meat alternatives, pop culture, challenger brands and creativity.