The stakes in Real Estate have never been higher. And that’s creating a feverish competition of creative one-upmanship among some key players… including RE/MAX, Rocket Mortgage, and now Zillow.

In the old days, the ad wars were reserved for the Madison Avenue representatives of big brands. Cars, cola, and beer. And yes, like most everything else, times have changed. Driven in equal parts by technology, social and economic anxiety — and a desire for stability — consumers are focused on the home more than ever.

This is especially true of millennials. A generation who — not long ago — was thought to be eschewing home ownership. But they seem to have matured past that… and many are now looking to put down roots.

However, this generation hasn’t lost their technological savvy. Or their need for convenience. And that’s precisely where Zillow comes in. The online search tool has grown up with millennials. And vice-versa. So the brand is expanding its services to offer more value.

To promote that enhanced service, the brand has launched a very creative series of ads. 

From a purely artistic standpoint, we’re big fans of the campaign. But will it be effective?

Two Distinctive Ads

The new campaign consists of two spots initially. Each taking a very different approach.

The first commercial, called “The Journey,” brings to life the anxiety and fear a child faces when moving to a new city. With stunning, cinematic visuals inspired by children’s tales like “Where the Wild Things Are”… the ad is as captivating as any movie.

It emphasizes the emotional turmoil of a young girl as she grapples with moving away from her home. And the life she knew and loved. To a new one… full of uncertainty. You hear her voice — desperately, heartbreakingly — beg to stay home as she navigates a scary journey with fantastical characters. 

Who are now her only friends.

Then, in the end, a glimmer of hope emerges. As she stands in her room in her new home… seeing a potential new friend in her next door neighbor.

The second ad, “Susans,” is decidedly more light-hearted. Yet it still captures the emotional difficulty of moving. In this spot — a woman who we can assume is Susan, but is only referred to as “me” — enters a large conference room full of her various personality traits and emotions.

She refers to them, one-by-one: “Negative me.” “Spontaneous me.” And “Paranoid me.” As she calls on them to ask what they think about selling Susan’s home and moving to a new one… each version of herself responds accordingly. “Negative me,” is completely against moving. While “spontaneous me” is busy ordering draperies.

As she hears all of the conflicting responses, the “Susan” running the meeting — just wants one of her emotional versions to offer something helpful. Accordingly, she calls on “helpful me.” Who says that the Susans don’t need to stress about moving. Because Zillow can line it all up.

The ad strikes a much more humorous tone than “Journeys.” 

Yet both spots have one important thing in common.

Tugging on Emotions

While the two Zillow ads are very different in almost every way, each expertly connects to the tempest of emotions people have about moving. The excitement. The worry. The dread. The possibilities. All and more are represented in the campaign. Zillow’s brand voice — which focuses on addressing “pain points” when it comes to moving — definitely got our attention.

That is why we think this campaign is a winner.

Moving, after all, is about change. In fact, it’s one of the biggest transitions a person can go through. And, in a time full of tumult… when people just want things to go back to normal (but paradoxically are moving more than ever), the Zillow ads strike just the right tone.

In essence, the ads are giving affirmation to consumers’ emotions. Letting viewers know that these feelings are normal… especially at a time when life as we know it has been transformed in profound ways. And that the brand is promising to be ‘by their side’ to help. We think this approach will almost certainly connect with home buyers and sellers.

Of course, Zillow will need to fulfill the promise of the ads. And calm homeowners’ emotions through delivering on their service offerings. But it’s clear that Zillow just raised the bar for other brands in the Real Estate game.

Looking for engaging and memorable ways to show your customers that you understand their pain points… and have proven solutions to address them? Send an email to Steve Kleber at