Real Estate’s Shiny New Tech Doesn’t Amount to Much in New Campaign for Re/Max

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There are all kinds of tools out there to buy a home. And while the newer companies like Redfin, Zillow and Compass tout ease of use and potential savings, buying a home is a huge investment, and having a qualified real-estate agent still makes a difference.

To that end, Re/Max is taking aim at the disruptors and discount agents in a new campaign from San Francisco-based Camp + King that reminds consumers of the importance of having a trusted partner at their side.

While technology is great, that virtual agent could end up being more trouble than its worth, and incredibly frustrating.

Or perhaps that tech could lead to a sale price that’s way below what is expected. Either way, the ads put a humorous spin on the cult of technology when buying or selling a home.

But the agency and brand didn’t stop there and set their sights on discount agents. Perhaps real estate isn’t exactly an agent’s only job, or maybe they didn’t do their research.

Then, there’s the agent who tried to cut corners. In the campaign, Re/Max reminds consumers not to worry—its’s done this a million times.

The work is a departure from previous campaigns (the agency won the Re/Max account in 2015), which were more focused on the brand’s attributes, as opposed to taking a swipe at the newbies.

“In the first years working with them, it was all about the celebration of who they are,” said Roger King, partner and CCO of Camp + King. “We got a little bit more pugilistic, and we’re starting to go after some of the newcomers. We wanted to have a hint of comedy because it takes some of the sting out of the points we’re making.”

While the newer companies may have captured some of the mindshare of the market and gained some publicity from their tactics, real-estate agents still have a significant role in the process for homebuyers, according to Abby Lee, Re/Max svp of marketing and communications.

“The consumer hasn’t quite figured out what these (companies and platforms) are yet,” Lee said. “They’re not quite familiar with them or know what the benefits are.”

A Re/Max survey indicated that millennials, who are presently driving most of the home purchasing volume, overwhelmingly preferred to work with an agent. Interestingly, the only thing more stressful than buying a home is going through a divorce, according to the research.

“Knowing that making the largest financial decision in your life can be as stressful as going through a divorce, it’s [important] to do that with someone who has a lot of experience,” said Jamie King, partner of Camp + King.

Yet, even though there is a great deal of gravity in buying a home, leaning into comedy was an essential component to getting the message across.

“For millennials, there are all kinds of (home buying) tech options out there, and people think that they can do this on their own,” said Jesse Dillow, Camp + King creative director. “But people could get into a situation where they don’t know what they’re doing, and the comedy helps plant the seed that no one has more experience than Re/Max.”

“We’ve never gone directly against a competitor or a different model,” Lee said. “I think that using humor and not necessarily going directly after (competitors) was the right thing to do. If this proves to be successful, I could see us pushing that a little further.”

What helps reinforce the point is that Re/Max has had the No. 1 unaided brand awareness for several years. Lee attributes that to the fact that in the real-estate downturn of the last decade, the brand kept advertising in more traditional channels when others pivoted.

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