The real estate analytics company poured millions of dollars into ads for Homes.com and Apartments.com in its latest effort to challenge rival home-search portals, like Zillow and Realtor.com.
CoStar Group, the $34 billion real estate analytics company, slammed into its Super Bowl debut with four high-gloss commercials on Sunday night, buying up more airtime than Pepsi and even the perennial favorite Budweiser, which each only purchased two multimillion slots on football’s biggest night.
The commercials — three for CoStar subsidiary Homes.com and one for another subsidiary, Apartments.com — were just the kickoff in a planned yearlong advertising barrage for the upstart home-search portals. The CoStar chief executive, Andy Florance, said he hopes the media blitz will earn the company dominion over rival home-search sites. Last year, Homes.com announced it had reached 100 million monthly visitors, trailing behind Zillow but placing it ahead of both Redfin and Realtor.com.
On its website, Homes.com touts a $1 billion marketing push, describing the investment as “the biggest marketing campaign in real estate history.” In the weeks following the big game, the website promises, “Homes.com will be everywhere morning to late night,” with an ongoing advertising rollout that will include radio, streaming platforms and prime-time television.
The combined two minutes and 15 seconds of ads that aired while the Kansas City Chiefs battled the San Francisco 49ers likely cost $35 million, according to Ad Age. The four ads were anchored by the celebrities Jeff Goldblum, Dan Levy and Heidi Gardner, with a cameo from the rapper Lil Wayne, whose alter egos negotiated with aliens and smashed a high-rise office building’s windows with a larger-than-life champagne cork. In each bit, the actors created minor havoc in residential communities while performing neighborhood reconnaissance for prospective home buyers. And in not one but two of the ads, Mr. Levy and Ms. Gardner escaped peril in a branded Homes.com helicopter, its blades whirring and droning above a football game and a quiet cul-de-sac.
It’s a bid that is likely to pay off, advertising pundits said on Monday.
“Companies sometimes make the mistake of running a Super Bowl ad and then disappearing,” said Mitch Burg, a former president of both MediaEdge, a media buying company, and the Syndicated Network Television Association. “If you do that, your name recognition will also disappear. But if you’re running in the Super Bowl as part of launching a campaign you plan to sustain, then it’s a very smart way to get reach.”