On Monday (April 15th), Zillow launched its new “Home Just Got Real” marketing campaign to celebrate the resilience of today’s determined home buyer. 

Working with creative partners, the top-ranking real estate marketplace created three commercials that capture Zillow’s awareness of the real challenges facing home buyers in the current market, summing it up in stories with real emotional power. 

It’s those stories and the clear messaging behind them that could give Zillow a palpable edge with the thousands of frustrated buyers in today’s market. 

These ads are going live about two months after Homes.com invested over $1 billion in the biggest marketing campaign in real estate, starting with four bingeable Super Bowl commercials. Zillow ads were conspicuously absent during the event—possibly because they were busy working on the campaign rolling out this week. 

Three stories of buyer challenges overcome

Each of the three stories in Zillow’s ad campaign focuses on specific obstacles younger buyers in particular face when shopping for a home. Speaking to Gen Z and millennial buyers, the videos acknowledge the real obstacles on the road to homeownership—a path that looks very different from the one their parents and grandparents described. 

The younger generations of buyers face harsh economic realities not experienced by many Gen X and boomer homeowners. Zillow’s campaign speaks to that with three short but evocative videos, each directed by award-winning director and actor Karena Evans. 

With the intention to not overlook the challenge of the market, we wanted to ensure each spot felt honest, specific and relatable, in hopes of empowering buyers towards the accessibility of their dreams. The narrative of the campaign hinges on this multi-layered relationship story between the characters and each other, their homes, the viewer and Zillow. We lead with people: who they are, what they do and how they made their dream a reality. We hoped for a richly coloured portrait that creates a real connection between the viewer, their potential and Zillow.

Karena Evans

Creative director behind the Zillow campaign

#1 — “The Journey Home”

The first video follows a mother-daughter duo in their search for a home, documenting the hours spent touring, hoping, and processing one disappointment after another, until they finally walk into their new home. 

#2 — “DIY Home Loan”

The second video features a couple who stopped buying each other expensive gifts to save money for a home loan. One of them opens a gift to reveal a kitschy homemade “fox scarf,” which his partner puts around his neck. 

#3 — “Dog House”

Finally, the third video features social media star and animal lover @txunamy playing the role of a teenage whose Zillow partner agent helps her family find a home in close proximity to a dog park. 

All three ads show how Zillow tools and Premier Agents empower homebuyers throughout the home search and homebuying process. 

Zillow partnered with 72andSunny LA to create the campaign. 

Home buying is, to say the least, a polarizing subject among millennials today. There is so much negativity in the airwaves surrounding the possibility of owning a home. And yet, despite various obstacles and said negativity, people are figuring out how to buy a home. They are really doing it. Zillow’s role is to be the optimistic, realistic partner through the ups and down of the home buying process. Every single step of the way.

Bryan Rowles

Executive creative director and partner at 72andSunny LA

The “Home Just Got Real” campaign will roll out across TV, digital, and social channels as well as cinema, Zillow-owned channels, and several targeted brand partnerships throughout the second and third quarter of 2024. 

Time will tell whether consumers prefer the emotional appeal of these Zillow ads or the humor and star power in the Homes.com campaign.