Zillow brings emotion into the real estate category in new campaign

“To Move is to Grow” highlights Zillow’s expanded product offerings and brings humor and emotion to a typically product-focused marketing category.

Zillow is having a moment. 

After being homebound for over a year, people have taken to surfing the real estate platform in their spare time to browse listings and daydream about moving into their next home. 

Many people are actually taking that leap, packing up their lives and moving into a new home with more space or in a more desirable location during the pandemic. According to a November Pew Research center survey, 5% of U.S. adults moved last year due to COVID, while one in ten young adults did the same. 

This insight, along with Zillow’s expansion beyond just a listings platform to a company that can facilitate every step of the home buying process, from renting, selling, financing and closing on a home, led to the company’s new brand campaign, “To Move is to Grow.” 

The campaign, developed with agency FIG, includes two spots that take different approaches to highlighting the ranges of emotion people feel when selling a home and buying a new one. Zillow found that more than 75% of people considering moving are afraid to take the leap due to emotional factors, but that once they move, starting a new life chapter is one of the most rewarding parts of the process. 

“Taking the leap from dreaming to moving is hard,” said Jennifer Berger, VP of creative services at Zillow. “Our goal is to make moving simpler, easier and more joyful, and that's what the campaign is about.” 

The first spot, “Susans,” uses humor to highlight Zillow’s expansion beyond just a listings search platform. The spot showcases the different emotions one woman goes through when buying a new home by showing the reactions of her many different selves — from spontaneous, to paranoid, to lazy, stressed and gullible. 

Finally, “helpful” Susan steps in to say there’s no reason to stress, because “Zillow can help with that.” 

The second spot takes a more whimsical approach, as a young girl journeys across a foggy sea and through a dark forest, leaving her home behind. “I don’t want to move either, kid,” says a real-life version of her stuffed animal. Finally, she enters her new home and the sun shines again as she waves hello to her new neighbor. 

The campaign, one of Zillow’s “most robust and integrated” efforts yet, will run on TV, OTT, digital video, social media, email search and podcasts, and will be showcased on Zillow’s sites and apps, Berger said.

“Moving houses is such an emotional experience,” said Scott Vitrone, creative partner at FIG. “There’s attachment to your old house. There's generally a lot of money on the line. You're moving somewhere you haven't likely been before. There's a lot of vulnerability to that, and we feel the real estate category really hasn't tackled that.” 

“This work in particular and the strategy behind this is about making dreams a reality,” Zillow’s Berger added. “It aims to empathize with our customers, letting people understand that moving is emotionally, psychologically and logistically hard and we are there to help them move forward.” 

While the spots take different tones, both are meant to show that while moving is challenging, in the end it leads to positive life experiences. 

“This campaign repositions Zillow from a search and find dream platform to a full service real estate platform that serves the full set of needs consumers have,” Berger said. “Moving can be hard, stressful and uncertain at times, it's also full of possibilities and the opportunity to start a new life.”


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