Jeff Goldblum channels Larry Ellison in a first-ever national campaign for Apartments.com.
The year-long, $100 million effort includes advertising, media, B2B marketing and search, and includes TV, OOH, digital and social elements, native content, and targeted regional programs.
Goldblum plays an Internet guru named Brad Bellflower who spouts wisdom for the apartment hunting masses about the virtues of the platform.
The campaign, via AOR Santa Monica-based RPA, positions Apartments.com as a killer apt. app, with Goldblum stalking a stage, dressed in black — with the requisite ear-mounted mike — touting the site while graphics explode behind him. There's even a TED Talks-type tag, “Change your apartment. Change the world.”
The campaign launched with a 30-second spot during the Sunday night broadcast of “The Walking Dead.” A 60-second version is available for viewing online.
That initial salvo will be followed by seven ads on 70 network programs and 30 cable networks, as well as premieres and season finales of shows like “The Bachelor,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Empire” and “Survivor,” plus MLB and NBA games and NBA playoffs. The effort also involves search and homepage activations across CNN, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Yahoo and YouTube; and a custom content program on Buzzfeed, Gawker, The Huffington Post and Wired.
The focus is on site benefits, such as an interactive touch-screen search tool called Poygon, where you can define search parameters by drawing geographic boundaries on a virtual map; land a Plan Commute tool that selects properties within a desired commute time.
Mark Klionsky, SVP marketing at CoStar Group, the Washington, DC-based real estate data firm that acquired Apartments.com last year, tells Marketing Daily that the space is competitive, but not so much because of other players who are doing what Apartments.com is doing, but because everyone else is still pretty much doing Internet listing services. “And they all came from printed apartment directories that moved online,” he says. “But that experience isn't the same as you expect from flights, hotels, or restaurants, because if you searched for an apartment you would only see places that were advertised — just a limited listing [of properties].” He says Apartments.com is fueled with listings from CoStar’s own data, which, per Klionsky, is the biggest database of multi-family properties in the U.S.
The Brad Bellflower character will extend to Facebook and Twitter with a heavy dose of Menlo Park-pontificating through the use of image quotes, "tweetstorms" and screenshorts. Says Klionsky, “The character is so rich, it's something we can build on, and we think audiences will connect with him.”
Out of home is huge, with bulletins and posters, rail/subway stations, wrapped trains, transit shelters and street kiosks. All have Brad Bellflower saying things like “We put the .com in apartments,” “Need a new place? Surf the apartminternet.” and “The Most Polygonal Search Online.” Market-specific executions are in major U.S. cities as well as markets like Baltimore, Charlotte (N.C.), Nashville (Tenn.), Minneapolis, and Houston. On the sell side, there's a (SEM) program in the apartment industry, along with a business-to-business campaign introducing the new website.
Klionsky says the market opportunity is vast because 100 million people in the U.S. rent, and about 30% move every year, with the upper end of the segment moving every 18 months. He says the campaign targets three main cohorts: young single 20-to-34 year olds getting their first apartment; young couples and young families, between 35 and 49; and 50-plus empty nesters.
This ad hit home, for a multitude of reasons ranging from aesthetic to logical, and I believe that companies wanting to stay relevant should look into and study what is going on here. First thing is first, the over all look of what is going on is very pleasing. The theme I believe they are trying to present is futuristic, and they do a very good job of it. Flashy visuals are not always the way to go, however this was just the right amount of future looking lights, thematically cohesive with logo which in its own right looks a tad futuristic. Secondly, the character is perfect. Not everyone will know the actor, and there are so many "silicon valley mavericks" these days that another one popping up on your screen seems very believable. Combined that with a semblance similar to the late Steve Jobs, and you have a man who is smart, driven, and most importantly worth listening to. These aspects of the ad are in no way the complete reason why I feel it was a huge success, however, one can argue that they are two of the most important in a well made campaign.