Zillow Takes a Fantastic Voyage in This Storybook Spot From Fig

Martin de Thurah directs 'The Journey'

Behold: a bleak, craggy landscape with spooky eyeball trees and imposing, mist-shrouded peaks piercing the sky.

Welcome to the neighborhood, kid!

Zillow | The Journey (Extended Cut)

Through dark storybook imagery, Zillow captures a young girl's anxiety and apprehension about moving, as her imagination paints a disturbing picture of the family's new home.

Never fear—she doesn't really live where the wild things are. Creative agency Fig and director Martin de Thurah dispel her worries in the end, positioning Zillow as a trusted source for folks on the move.

"We are all that child during a move, venturing into an unknown that can be frightening and makes us vulnerable," client vp of creative services Jennifer Berger tells Muse. "But moving delivers new possibilities. It's a rite of passage and it's how we move forward in life."

Indeed, the commercial—with an ethereal score by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood—makes that point by depicting a sunny day at the end, and reminding viewers that "To move is to grow."

Jim Jenkins directs a second film with an entirely different feel, as a woman's many "selves"—helpful, negative, paranoid, lazy, spontaneous and otherwise—work together through Zillow as they plan a move:

Zillow | Susans

Wow, how'd they cast all those look-alike actresses? (Molly Lloyd plays the roles. Er, role, actually.)

"This is the kind of self-talk we grapple with when considering a move—from interest and excitement to anxiety and doubt, and back around," Berger says. "This spot addresses the wants, needs and pain points of moving, and how Zillow's new offerings give customers the comfort and confidence to rent, buy, sell or refinance."

Breaking today and tagged "To Move Is to Grow," the work should resonate in the pandemic era, as folks mull the pros and cons of their personal space and spend more time on Zillow and other real-estate sites than ever before.

"We saw an opportunity to take the emotional high ground and talk about moving in a way that hasn't been done in the category," Berger says. "Zillow is redefining itself from a search-and-find platform to a full-service one-stop shop."

Typically, "the category tends to portray buying and selling homes as very transactional, when it's actually one of the biggest, most emotionally charged decisions people make in their lives," says Fig partner and creative lead Scott Vitrone.

With "The Journey," de Thurah—acclaimed for his work for Chase, Hennessy and Under Armour, among others—delivers a beguiling spot, shot mostly on location in Prague. "The script had a rough sketch of what the world would look like," Vitrone recalls. "Martin immediately connected with the emotion of the story and pushed to make the world truly memorable."

But what's with all those eyeballs?

"This element added to the sense of vulnerability," says Vitrone. "He also added eyes peeking out of the girl's backpack. They provide a playfully curious element, but they also have a practical purpose. The camera follows our hero from behind quite a bit. The little eyes are much more interesting than just looking at the back of someone's head."

In "Susans," Jenkins' penchant for surreal comedy, on vivid display in Jeep's 2020 Super Bowl ad with Bill Murray, comes to the fore.

For the Zillow spot, Vitrone credits Jenkins with fine-tuning elements of timing and delivery—especially important given the focus on zippy dialogue. "Jim also brought the idea of the endless conference room," Vitrone says. "I loved the idea of going for scale with the multiple-personality visual."


Creative Agency: Fig
Partner/Creative: Scott Vitrone
Partner/Account Management: Kristen King
Partner/Strategy: Ramon Jimenez
Partner/Data and Media: Rick Stallings
Creative Director: Oli Beale
Creative Director: Freddie Powell
Creative Director: Ben Grube
Creative Director: Brian Eden
Head of Production: Jill Landaker Grunes
Executive Producer (The Journey): Wes Falik
Executive Producer (Susans): Jenny Russo Novak
Account Director: John Little
Account Supervisor: Amanda Koegler
Executive Director Comms Planning: Samantha Deevy
Strategist: Millie Tunnell
Group Project Manager: Vimal Patel
Director of Integrated Business Affairs: Sean McGee
Business Affairs Manager: Noel Wilcox

Client: Zillow
CMO: Aimee Johnson
VP, Creative Services: Jennifer Berger
Executive Creative Director: Todd Riddle
Group Director, Creative Services: Liam Doherty
Associate Account Director: Stephanie Smith
Senior Manager, Production: Sabrina Fiander
VP, Brand: Alissa Reiter
Senior Director, Brand: Tanin Blumberg
Director, Brand Manager: Bonnie Donaldson
Principal Brand Marketing Manager: Gabe Kosowitz
Insights: Jon Wenglikowski

"The Journey" Production Creds:
Production Company: Epoch
Director: Martin de Thurah
Managing Executive Producer: Melissa Culligan
Director of Photography: Lasse Frank Johannessen
Production Designer: David Bersanetti
Producer: Stine Moise

Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Mikkel E.G. Nielsen
Assistant Editors: Alex Liu & Alex Lora
Executive Producer: Lisa Barnable

Color: Blacksmith
Colorist: Mikey Pehanich
Color Assistant: Sam Howells
Color Producer: Ashley Goodwin

VFX: Blacksmith
Lead Compositor: Ben Kwok
CG Leads: Olivier Varteressian, Tuna Unalan
VFX Supervisor: Tom Bussell, Sam Hencher
Compositors: Andrew Emmerson, Eric Sibley, Iwan Zwarts, Jacob Slutsky, Molly Intersimone, Robert Bruce, Yebin Ahn, Hannah Wilk, Danny Morris
CG Rigging: Ohad Bracha, Ruben Fuentes
CG Animation: Jordi Pallas, Magin Marques, Paul Wei, Sam Crees
CG FX: Kushal Das, Rick Walia
CG Team: David Martin, Krista Albert, Sylvia Apostol
Concept Artist: Victor Hugo Harmatiuk
Producer: Ashley Goodwin
Executive Producer: Charlotte Arnold

Music Supervisors: GEMS
Composers: Jonny Greenwood

Music Edit/Sound Design/Mix: Ballad
Mixer: Adrian Aurelius
Producer: Gregers Maersk Moeller

"Susans" Production Creds:
Prod. Co: O Positive
Director: Jim Jenkins
Executive Producers: Ralph Laucella, Marc Grill
Producer: Marc Grill
Head of Production: Devon Clark
DP: Stuart Dryburgh
Production Designer: Dan Ouellette

Editorial: Mackcut
Editor: Gavin Cutler
Assistant Editor: Megan Heard
Executive Producer: Gina Pagano
Post Producer : Gina Pagano

VFX + Finishing: The Mill
Creative Director + Shoot Supervisor: Nathan Kane
Executive Producer: Heath Raymond
Producer: Will Jellicorse
Production Coordinator: Zack Stimell
2D Lead Artist: Kshitij Khanna, Taner Besen
3D Lead Artist: James Mulholland
2D Artists: Anne Trotman, Kyle Cody, Dhruv Shankar, Jeeeun Lee, Nasser Mandavi, Lucia Hill Barroso, Luke Midgley, Marcelo Pasqualino
3D Artist: Alek Vacura, John Wilson, Jessica Castillo
Finish Artist: Ben Vaccaro
Designers: Greg Rubner

Color: The Mill
Colorist: Michael Rossiter, Fergus McCall
Color Producer: Evan Bauer

Sound Design + Mix: MackCut
Mixer: Sam Shaffer
EP: Gina Pagano

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