Magazine article ADWEEK

There's No Place like Homes for Ad Agencies: Boom Market Levels off but Big 3 Real-Estate Brands Step Up Marketing Efforts. (National News)

Magazine article ADWEEK

There's No Place like Homes for Ad Agencies: Boom Market Levels off but Big 3 Real-Estate Brands Step Up Marketing Efforts. (National News)

Article excerpt

BOSTON The top three brands in real estate--Re/Max, Coldwell Banker and Century 21--are becoming more aggressive marketers in a battle for shares of a vibrant sector of the economy.

A record number of homes were sold in the U.S. last year, according to the National Association of Realtors (6.5 million, up 7 percent from 2001). While the number is expected to drop slightly this year, according to Jody Lane, president of Dallas trade journal Realty Times, spending by the three franchise real-estate operations will continue to rise, executives said.

"Right now real estate occupies an unprecedented share of the American mind," said Kris Washington, partner at Boston consultancy Psynchronous Communications. "Real-estate companies have proved to be smart marketers, and the messaging activity we're seeing reflects their attempt to harvest what remains of the windfall while building [their] brands to mine the harbors against a less certain future."

Re/Max, the Greenwood Village, Colo.-based market leader, last month revamped its agency roster, naming Los Angeles independent davidandgoliath to handle its estimated $30 million TV creative account and Omnicom's Fleishman-Hillard for public relations duties. Its media spending was up more than 10 percent last year to nearly $60 million, according to CMR.

Re/Max, which operates 4,400 offices worldwide, is aiming to raise brand awareness among both consumers and the business press, said David Liniger, chairman and co-founder of the company.

Ads from davidandgoliath will break in 2004. Fleishman-Hillard has been asked to help publicize the brand's 30th anniversary this year.

"It couldn't be a better time to have a client in the real-estate business," said Claire Behar, svp and partner at Fleishman-Hillard, New York. …

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