CREA’s new ad campaign a smash hit

Prepare to have our latest advertising campaign stuck in your head for months to come.

Our latest work takes the 80s classic ballad, “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” and reworks it into “Total Regret in my Heart.” The television spot showcases people singing about the regret they have over not using the expert advice of a REALTOR®, as they end up living next to a sewage plant, construction site, or in the middle of a mosquito breeding ground.

This year’s national ad campaign committee, which I chaired, worked with award-winning ad agency UNION to develop a number of concepts tested across Canada with the public and REALTORS®.

The “Total Regret in my Heart” campaign clearly came out as the winner in testing. Consumers and REALTORS® alike responded to the use of the memorable song and the fact the ad showed different scenarios of homeownership gone wrong.

This concept follows the same premise as our previous advertising, not using a REALTOR® for the largest transaction of your life will ultimately lead to incredible regret.

However, this campaign differs dramatically from recent ones, as it doesn’t leverage the “ooooh” CREA commercials have become known for. Research showed us the “ooooh” was starting to wear out with consumers.

“Total Regret in my Heart” was shot over two 14-hour days with a crew of more than 40 people. The actors were singing live on set, with the music track playing through an unseen earpiece. It was directed by internationally-acclaimed directing duo Terri Timely.

And for the first time, we were able to shoot several extra pieces of social video at the same time as the television spot, using much of the same talent to create shorter pieces of content leveraging the same catchy song. We’re using this content to specifically target our Millennial, first-time home buyers in the digital and social space.

Please share the video and encourage people NOT to live with total regret in their heart. Like and post on your own social pages or share from one of ours.

What do you think of this year’s advertisement? Have your say in the Comments section.

Costa Poulopoulos has been a REALTOR® for more than 28 years and has served as President of the London-St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® and Chair of CREA. In addition, he has been on a variety of LSTAR and CREA committees, Task Forces and Advisory Groups. In 2014, Costa served as President of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and was OREA Western Area Director for 2007 and 2008. Costa is also a Past President of the Marketing Division of LSTAR. He has been awarded twice with the outstanding achievement award for his contribution to the real estate profession in south western Ontario and to his local real estate association in 2000 and 2008. Costa speaks three languages and his creative marketing ideas and materials are often used in real estate training classes.

5 thoughts on “CREA’s new ad campaign a smash hit”

  1. I think the ads are silly as does feedback from my clients. There is just so much more we do other than location plus if something happens in the area after we have sold it to them, then what? We are experts at the paperwork, save the public time and money and have so much more to offer than just picking a location! You missed the mark-yet again. Where is our service to the Sellers? No wonder some models are doing so well.

    1. We are sorry you feel that way about our ad. We are actually very excited about it and the results it has already achieved over the past few weeks.
      Creating a National Ad Campaign is a challenging endeavor as we are addressing millions of consumers across the country. For that reason we have a very clear strategy:
      1. We work with professionals. Our ad agency, Union Creative knows what we are looking for and achieves results for us year over year (with awards won for many of our ads).
      2. We test all campaign concepts with focus groups in Calgary and Toronto. These focus groups have REALTORS® and consumers present and are conducted at one on one interviews. The feedback of the research allows us to choose the concept that is engaging for all audiences and gives us input on tweaks and changes that might have to be made.
      3. The National Ad Committee, which are individual REALTORS® from across the country advises/reviews and gives input every step of the way. They approve the final ad that goes to market.
      Bottom line, a good television ad makes you “lean in,” to sit up, take notice, watch, be entertained and engaged. And if you are looking for an ad that specifically addresses paperwork, have a look here at our digital short, called Paperwork which you can find here:—public-outreach/national-ad-campaign/digital-ad-campaign/digital-video-ads2.html
      In addition we also have a radio ad called Legalese, which not only deals with paperwork, but focuses on the sellers perspective.

  2. I think the ads are catchy and well done however I wonder…is this the biggest challenge that we as professionals face today? I see hardly anyone attempting to go it alone…I believe the misleading advertising of some companies may be a better target to keep up standards in our industry!

  3. Truly effective marketing is done from the customer’s/client’s/prospect’s point of view. “You” vs “I” or “we”. This ad is done from the “I” or “we” point of view. Ask yourself this question. “What are the biggest problems, frustrations and annoyances people have when dealing with realtors, or in this case, ‘not’ dealing with a realtor?” Then you address those in your marketing. Furthermore, using parody of a very popular song I see also a negative. Instead of spending the 30 seconds taking the content and message in the ad, they spend the 30 seconds distracted by trying to figure out what song your ad is a parody of.

  4. The ads are attention grabbers, however, I think it is a classic mistake of marketers to emphasize the negative aspects of the Real Estate transaction rather than positive reasons for working with Professionals who are dedicated to listening to their clients needs and helping with honesty and integrity. We earn every dime we make!
    Just because there are negative ads posted by certain diy type companies is no reason to follow in their downward direction.

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