CREA raids a house

The latest campaign by Union for the realtors' association features a version banned from TV.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and Union’s latest spot features an online-only banned-from-TV version.

The new campaign, which launched yesterday and will run through May before taking a summer break and starting up again in the fall, features a SWAT team descend upon a quiet suburban house before realizing the cartel that used to inhabit it has moved on.

In the digital-only version, the spot ends with the homeowners in the SWAT team’s gun sights. “It didn’t pass the muster for those who give the approval for television ads,” says Randall McCauley, VP government and PR, CREA. “The ‘banned’ version makes it a little bit more interesting.”

Last month, U.S.-based SodaStream, a product that injects bubbles into beverages, had a relatively tame ad featuring actress Scarlett Johansson banned from airing on Fox during the Super Bowl. Media reports picked up the story quickly, with allegations it wasn’t the content that was banned, but rather sponsors Coca-Cola and Pepsi putting pressures on the broadcasters. The buzz and the word “banned” helped the video hit more than 13 million views on YouTube to date.

For CREA, though the initial plan wasn’t to drum up talk value of a banned TV ad, McCauley says the label won’t hurt in drawing in viewers.

The spot is a bit edgy, he says, and was done so purposefully to stand out in the crowded TV space. “I tend to like commercials with rough edges,” he says.

The campaign targets 25- to 54-year-olds who are intending to buy or sell a house in the next couple of years, he says. “We’ve learned there are very specific things people value in realtor services,” he says. “[Such as] being taken by the hand by a professional to navigate the paperwork, sign off and approvals. They value knowing the history of the house, and having a professional watch out for things they would never know – like the consequences of a grow-op.”

The media buy, handled in house by Union, includes a 30- and 60-second TV spot, which will also run in cinemas (because of its trailer-like qualities, he says) as well as the aforementioned 60-second digital-only campaign, which will live on CREA’s owned channels.