Elizabeth Banks Helps People Find Their Dream Homes … in Their Actual Dreams

Realtor.com's advertising gets stranger still

Boy, Elizabeth Banks can sure get inside your head.

The actress returns for a self-consciously wacky house party in Pereira & O'Dell New York's latest work for Realtor.com. In new ads, she invades the homeowner fantasies of prospective buyers, to tout the client's site. 

Tagged "Dream home. Find home. Own home," the new work is much sillier than last year's "Real Estate in Real Time" push, which also starred Banks, and was created by the same client-agency team.

One spot takes place in a "Dream Bathroom," with Banks popping in for a chat with a hairy dude who plays paddleball while a floating razor gives him a shave: 

"Not only is dreaming about your next home a good thing—being able to find that dream bathroom or dream closet in a home for sale is a reality with Realtor.com," Andrew Strickman, head of brand and creative at the company, tells AdFreak. "Every spot we shot focuses on that core message and that core benefit."

Next, Banks takes her schtick outside, for a commercial on a guy's "Dream Deck," where snacks, beers and puppies rain down from fluffy clouds: 

We wonder what Freud would make of these dreams? Well, sometimes a deck is just a deck.

Strickman says the ridiculous tone of the latest spots was designed to reach a broad audience. "The home search process can begin in your early 20s, and certainly last well into your later years," he says. "Thankfully, Elizabeth appeals to millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers. She's a smart, hilarious everywoman whom people immediately relate to." 

Upcoming digital components include an eight-episode faux talk show with Banks interviewing assorted "dream pals" from her own dreams, a series of vignettes for Instagram and Facebook, and a "Home-blebrag Video Generator." These elements target millennials, "who make up the largest proportion of first-time homebuyers and need the most information as they begin their search," Strickman says. 

That content drops soon, and you can preview more Banksian footage in the behind-the-scenes clip below, which includes scenes of a T-Rex riding a treadmill (that's why dinosaurs went extinct, by the way) and a human-size fork (with eyeballs, naturally): 

There's also a Q&A with Banks here: 

"Wanting to find and live in the home of your dreams is a universal truth," says Dave Arnold, executive creative director at Pereira & O'Dell. "We were given a lot of creative freedom to bring the work to life." 

Realtor.com's competitors have been busy bringing their campaigns to life as well, with recent efforts running the conceptual gamut from Zillow's emotional reflections on the meaning of home to the National Association of Realtors' breezy tie-in with Modern Family's Realtor dad, Phil Dunphy (actor Ty Burrell).

"Our research has shown that even with the crowded category, our message and our brand have been able to rise above, in part because of this humor"—first employed, with far greater restraint, in the brand's previous ads with Banks, Strickman says. 

Indeed, the actress' charm and star power, channeled here in expert fashion by Dummy Films director Harold Einstein, could help Realtor.com's kooky campaign stand out from the crowd.

That said, the two spots released so far feel like a crowded house, crammed with visual jokes, repartee and brand messaging. It's tough to take it all in on first viewing, or even fully figure out what's going on. 

Still, we prefer Banks' dreamy pitch to the laser-shooting-eyeball approach of Vancouver real-estate agent Patricia Houlihan. Now that's the stuff of nightmares.