PR News Case Study: C21 Super Bowl Ad Campaign


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PR and Marketing Work as One to Earn Media, Fan and Online Buzz Around Century 21's Super Bowl XLVII Ad Campaign.

PR News Case Study: C21 Super Bowl Ad Campaign

  1. 1. ▶ Case Study Advertising Branding Media RelationsPR and Marketing Work as One to Earn Media, Fan andOnline Buzz Around Century 21’s Super Bowl XLVII Ad Spots Faster” tagline. Image courtesy of Mullen Company: Century 21 Real Estate The move was a huge win Agency: Mullen for Century 21, says CMO Bev Timeframe: Nov. 2012 - Present Thorne. “We did it as a brand play, not a feet-on-the-streetAs an engagement vehicle, lead generation campaign,”there’s nothing quite like the she says. With the goal ofSuper Bowl. This year’s hap- attracting traffic to its websitepening, Super Bowl XLVII, (, the com-drew a massive TV audi- pany, with help from its agencyence—108.4 million total of record, Mullen, saw a 40%viewers, making it the third increase in site traffic in 2012most watched TV program while the industry averageever (behind the 2010 and 2011 traffic increase to real estate Century 21’s Super Bowl broadcast ad, shown during the third quarterSuper Bowls). Of those mil- sites was 4%, according to com- of the game, depicts a new bride calling for a Century 21 agent after thelions of people, many tune in Score. groom faints at the watch their favorite teams In addition, buzz and con-battle for supremacy, but others versations led to a 21% uptick THE CREATIVE public relations. “PR was every-make a sport out of watching in leads, and those leads led to The thrust of Century 21’s thing,” Thorne says. “We didn’tthe commercials. a bottom-line jump, according 2013 campaign would revolve have luxury of a huge budget, In 2012, real estate fran- to Thorne, who adds that these around its most important so earned media was truly ourchisor Century 21 decided to results can’t be all attributed to stakeholder: the agent. There greatest leverage.” It’s likely themake the leap into the Super the Super-Bowl presence. would be four commercials, company spent much of itsBowl. But it was enough of an three presented during pre- budget on the ad buy, estimated The company debuted a indicator to return to the Super game festivities, and one in the to average about $3.8 millioncommercial featuring real estate Bowl stage in 2013. third quarter of the game. per Super-Bowl spot.mogul and TV personality This time, though, the The spots revolve aroundDonald Trump, football star theme of the advertising would the agent’s ability to help CAMPAIGN LAUNCHDeion Sanders and Olympian be much different—and the ads people who are facing big life The combined PR/marketingApolo Ohno playing up the wouldn’t be driven by celebri- moments: having a baby, seeing effort was launched in threecompany’s “Smarter. Bolder. ties. that baby grow up, winning the waves, says Angela Giovanello, lottery and getting married. VP at Mullen. The first wave The tagline would be the same was the announcement that 5 Practical Rules for as in 2012: “Smarter. Bolder. Century 21 would be pre- Super Bowl Tweets Faster.” miering ads at the Super Bowl. Created by ad agency Red The second wave would Conversing with a big brand’s Twitter followers during the world’s most viewed TV event is a Herculean task. Tettemer + Partners the wed- involve the communications But Molly Galler, senior community manager at Mullen, Molly Galler ding commercial, which aired around a Super Bowl-themed was up to the task. During this year’s Super Bowl XLVII, during the game, features a survey, and the third would Galler took the Twitter reins on behalf of client Century 21. From groom getting cold feet, until a be the premiere of the ads the that experience, here are some tips and observations from Galler: Century 21 agent rescues him Monday before Super Bowl from the prospect of living with Sunday. • Keep three tabs open—one for your corporate profile page, one for all your @ replies and one to search key terms like “Century the bride’s parents. 21” or “Super Bowl.” “Our main objective this WAVE 1: KICKOFF Super Bowl was to put our The official announcement • If you know you want to give shout-out to other brands—congrat- agents front and center,” that Century 21 was all in for ulating them on their ads or razzing them—look up their verified Twitter handles in advance. Thorne says, adding that the Super Bowl XLVII was made in branding work begins from November 2012 at the National • Realize that not every Twitter user is going to love your Super within. “We wanted them to Association of Realtors confer- Bowl ad. It hurts, but you didn’t love all of the ads yourself, did feel great pride in what they did ence. Media outreach around you? as agents.” the news yielded hits in • Show some personality. No one wants to converse with a robot. A more granular goal was advertising/marketing media, • Use a hashtag that is branded and easy for consumers to to drive the public to Century including mentions from remember. We chose #C21SuperBowl. 21’s website. And key to that advertising columnist Stuart outreach, Thorne says, was Elliott of The New York Times6 | 2.11.13
  2. 2. and marketing writer Bruce WAVE 3: THE UNVEILING Google+, Twitter, YouTube and will also be in the mix. What isHorovitz of USA Today. For Super Bowl brand com- LinkedIn. known so far is media impres- “Reporters want to know municators, to preview or not sions: some 700 million andabout the media buy and what preview is the big question. GAMEDAY counting.quarter the ad will run in To build the suspense, some When Super Bowl Sunday Could Mullen and Centuryduring the game,” Giovanello brands prefer not to reveal their rolled around, it was time to 21 have done anything more tosays. ads until the Super Bowl. watch the game and monitor increase the buzz around the However, Century 21 social media activity on Twitter. ad spots? Gentile says perhapsWAVE 2: THE SURVEY decided to show its creative Molly Galler, Mullen’s senior more video content leading upWith no celebrities to pitch for the Monday before the game. community manager, held the to the game might have movedthe 2013 spot, Century 21 and “Strategically it made the most reins on Twitter, answering the needle further. Thorne saysMullen looked for a unique sense,” says Matt Gentile, questions about the commer- more time and more researchangle to build engagement director of PR and social, cials, advising followers when might have yielded betterleading up to the ad launch. Century 21. “I think more the spot would appear and results, but neither one of themThe teams considered doing views is better. The discussion responding to the third-quarter has any regrets.some sort of sweepstakes pro- surrounding the commercials Superdome power outage with: Gentile stressed that, formotion. is such an opportunity to drive “Is there a Century 21 agent in him, PR around the Super Bowl But they ended up going in publicity that it made the most the house?” a line that is used was his Super Bowl. “There isa different direction. “Without sense.” in all of the company’s creative. no greater campaign to worka huge promotional budget, After revealing the ads, on,” he says. “Having workedwe got down and dirty with a Gentile and his team of three POSTGAME in this field for 20 years, you’dtraditional consumer survey,” went to work, starting with an Two days after the game, results better have your seatbelt on—Giovanello says. interactive release that was dis- were still being tabulated, using there’s no greater spotlight.” PRN The survey, conducted tributed on MarketWire. Cision and Radian6 measure-online by Harris Interactive, Media outreach that ment platforms, among others.was fielded Dec. 11-13, 2012. week covered a wide swath, Thorne says the company will CONTACT:The nearly 3,000 respondents including real estate trades, look closely at website traffic, Bev Thorne, @BevThorne;weighed in about their game- sports media, advertising, mar- which is important because Angela Giovanello,watching and party plans for keting and franchise trades and 94% of potential home buyers @agiovanello; Matt Gentile,the upcoming Super Bowl.  online media properties like go online in their search. @MattGentile; Molly Galler, The results, released on Huffington Post and Mashable. Engagement, share of voice @mollygaller.Jan. 22, after the San Francisco By Wednesday, Gentile and lead-generation metrics49ers and Baltimore Ravens made a move toward sportsearned respective births inthe big game, were just what radio. “It may sound odd, but sports radio stations have web- Super Bowl Survey a “Home” RunCentury 21 was looking sites, and we had experiencedfor: Nearly nine in 10 (88%) good pickup of the survey fromAmericans who planned to them,” he says. “It was certainlywatch the big game agreed that a different target for us.”home is the best place to catch Also considered were TVthe action. outlets like “Good Morning The response to the survey America.” But Gentile says thatfindings was enthusiastic. because the networks seemed“Mashable had us recreate it to be covering controversiesjust for them with questions on surrounding some of thesocial media,” Giovanello says. ads—including the Jamaican-A host of lifestyle and sports accented Volkwagon spot andoutlets also covered the find- the often-edgy GoDaddy ads—ings. Century 21 shied away from Perhaps the biggest hit was making a pitch.the famed USA Today Snapshot Heading into Friday andinfographic that appears on Saturday, the team was stillpage one of the daily. “Many pushing the survey results andcommunicators still consider it the opportunity for the publicthe Holy Grail of media hits,” to vote for their favorite (andGiovanello says. least favorite) commercials As Wave 2 progressed, through USA Today’s Admeter A Century 21 pre-Super Bowl survey fielded by Harris InteractiveFacebook and Twitter were and YouTube’s Ad Blitz. Voting proved to be a compelling and cost-effective tactic to engage theused to release small bites of was encouraged through media and fans.the findings. Century 21’s social platforms— Source: Mullen | 2.11.13 7