Searching for an apartment in New York City is … romantic? Even thrilling? Really?
That's the thrust of Preacher's first campaign for Zillow's StreetEasy, a real-estate platform serving the five boroughs and New Jersey.
"To bring the thrill back to the NYC apartment search, we took inspiration from pulp romance paperback covers," agency CEO and founder Krystle Loyland tells Muse.
Artist Sam Spratt—who made Clio's 60th anniversary painting last year—provided fun, noir-ish illustrations for kiosks, transit displays, taxi tops, billboards and poster placements around town.
"The rich color, bold type, cheeky copy and alluring looks" suggest the world of pulp fiction, "but we also wanted to represent today's New Yorkers with more real-life casting and styling," Loyland says. "These characters aren't the objects of desire. They're owning their fantasy, and the objects of desire are apartment amenities that all New Yorkers have entertained at some point in their home search."
The tagline is, "It's okay to look."
For example, who hasn't tossed and turned all night, mind aflame with images of … a larger bedroom? (Preferably with more closet space!)
Or maybe dishwashers and other appliances get you all … "steamy."
Hey, bathtubs are hot, right?
Sigh … there's something about a man in uniform who holds the door open for you because, dammit, that's his job.
And it's no fun livin' large on your lonesome.
"We at Preacher were already fans of Sam Spratt, so when we made a shortlist of artists, he was definitely on it," Loyland says. "He's a New Yorker, and he understood the playfulness of the concept instantly. His technique is built off classical oil-painting training, which gave us the beautiful hand-crafted pulp look, but his instincts helped translate that to a modern world. His style also helped us achieve a more authentic campaign art direction and stand out from the subway-of-sameness friendly, pastel, vector world."
In the main, "we found that most NYC real estate ads are selling someone else's idea of a dream life—not realizing that most of our apartment dreams are actually within reach: dog friendly, a bedroom that fits a bigger bed, or, God forbid, a washer and dryer," says Loyland. "Or, they're adding to our anxiety by reminding us about the lies and traps that exist in the market, rather than the romance of what could be."
Of late, real estate marketers have tried some notably creative approaches. Localize.city promised the truth (and nothing but!) in its listings, exposing noisy neighborhoods and flats with "bed bugs." Realtor.com lampooned glitzy home-hunting shows. And a luxe condo developer in Bangkok dispatched bunnies to boost sales.
Click the thumbnails below to see more placements from the StreetEasy campaign.
"It's Okay to Look"
VP Marketing & Analytics: Peter Edwards
Senior Director of Marketing: Amory Wooden
Senior Manager, Brand Marketing: Andrea Mazandi
Senior Brand Marketing Specialist: Jeryl Lippe
Chief Creative Officer: Rob Baird
Chief Executive Officer: Krystle Loyland
Chief Strategy Officer: Seth Gaffney
Brand Director: Grant Watson
Junior Brand Manager: Madison Goldston
Creative Directors: Sean Vij & Adrien Bindi
Associate Creative Directors: Maxx Delaney & Nick Troop Junior Copywriter: Matt Klugman
Junior Art Director: Eddy Allen
Senior Designer: Anna McCaleb
Studio Director: Tamara Stoddard
Production Artist: Jenna Krackenberger
Strategy Director: Jasmine Clark
Senior Strategist: Stephen Maroda
Executive Producer: Stacey Higgins
Senior Producer: Rachel Kichler
Business Affairs: Abbi Press
Illustrator: Sam Spratt
Artist Rep: Jeff Church, Bernstein & Andriulli
Motion Graphics: Chapman Bullock
Animation Studio: Proper