It's been 19 years since C.A.R. launched its first consumer advertising campaign aimed at home buyers and sellers reinforcing the value of using a REALTOR®. After focus groups revealed consumers' negative perception of real estate agents in the mid-1990s, C.A.R. launched the award-winning "Real Estate Is Our LifeTM" advertising blitz, which included magazine ads, radio spots, and television commercials.
The campaign was an immediate success, winning a "Telly Award" for its outstanding television commercials and significantly improving consumers' recognition of the difference between REALTORS® and licensees. Its broad appeal did not go unnoticed by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR), and in 1998, NAR's board of directors adopted the "Real Estate Is Our LifeTM" campaign as its own nationwide public awareness campaign.
Other major milestones include:
In 1999, C.A.R. translated several of the "Real Estate Is Our LifeTM" television commercials into Spanish, and they subsequently appeared on Spanish-language UNIVISION station affiliates throughout the state. Additionally, Spanish versions of the campaign's magazine ads and radio spots were made available for local associations to run in their own communities.
Also in 1999, C.A.R. launched a new online component to its campaign, placing more than 8 million banners on the Web to help reach the state's web-savvy consumers and drive traffic to the Association's "California Living Network" website.
In 2003, C.A.R. refreshed its consumer advertising efforts with a new message: "REALTOR®--The Most Important Title in Real Estate." Through humorous radio commercials, the campaign emphasized that consumers have a choice when selecting an agent, that REALTORS® subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics, and that consumers are more likely to get results when working with a California REALTOR®. Results from a post-campaign survey measuring consumers' receptivity to the campaign and their attitude toward REALTORS® recorded the first appreciable, significant improvement in recall of and appreciation for the REALTOR® designation in the 12 years C.A.R. had conducted consumer market research. The success of the "REALTOR®--The Most Important Title in Real Estate" campaign continued through 2005 and 2006.
In 2008, the Association launched a bold, new theme for its consumer advertising campaign: "California REALTORS®. Your Peace of Mind." It was the Association's most expansive consumer advertising campaign since 1997 and included new radio commercials, online components, search engine marketing, and customizable collateral materials that members were able to use in their own marketing efforts. The theme was modified to “Your Piece of California. Your Peace of Mind” the following year and achieved substantial consumer recognition by the end of 2010.
In 2011, C.A.R. recognized the increased challenges California consumers and saw an opportunity to let consumers speak directly to consumers. The 2011 and 2012 campaigns showcased testimonials from real California home buyers who achieved their dreams of homeownership by working with REALTORS®. The theme “Champions of Home” was introduced and reflects the nerve-calming aspects, the obstacle-busting qualities and overall value that California REALTORS® offer buyers and sellers.
This year, the “Long Story” consumer ad campaign refreshes the Ripple Effect theme by highlighting that California REALTORS® are at the center of economic growth within the state and emphasizing the benefits of working with one. This year’s campaign will use broadcast media to ramp up in core markets, and will rely heavily on digital and social components to provide a statewide foundation.
The campaign boasts the most innovative and impression components to date, and will be seen and heard across TV, radio, online and in the social media space. Television ads will run on NBC stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Sacramento in addition to spots on HGTV and Bravo. Online mobile media will dominate the weekends on industry leaders REALTOR.com, as well as throughout relevant media networks, popular mobile sites, and local websites such as NBCLosAngeles.com, NBCBayArea.com, NBCSanDiego.com and KCRA.com. All will drive consumers to the redesigned microsite,www.championsofhome.com.
Multiple radio spots will continue to dominate the Friday afternoon commute by being broadcast in a three-hour “roadblock”. We’ll also have presence throughout the weekend for supplemental coverage, and online streaming is being included for the first time.
The campaign also includes multiple touch points on social media aimed at providing valuable information and generating more consumer response and increased engagement and interaction. New series will refresh C.A.R’s social profiles, and provide new content for members to share with their networks and clients. Through our new partnerships with IZEA and Snapfluence, we’ll be working local California family bloggers and influential Instagram and Twitter users to show why California is such a wonderful place to live.
Since 1997, when C.A.R. launched its first advertising campaign, consumer awareness of the REALTOR® brand and the need to use a REALTOR® has increased dramatically. This year's consumer advertising campaign will continue to build on past successes by communicating directly with consumers about the added value and peace of mind they receive by working with a REALTOR® when buying or selling a home.