By Danny Kucharsky

Quebec real estate brokers are showing that real estate is not a kids’ game in a new province wide campaign that features children doing jobs usually handled by professionals.

The TV campaign by the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB)  shows kids working in professions in which they are clearly not trained and ends with the tagline, “Real estate… it’s not a kids’ game” (“L’immobilier n’est pas un jeu d’enfants”). It also appears on radio, print and on the web.

The campaign focuses “on the added value of real estate brokers in transactions,” says Jacynthe Alain, assistant manager – communications and public relations at the QFREB. The federation represents 13,000 brokers in Quebec’s 12 real estate boards.

One of the two 15-second TV spots pictures a patient at the dentist. He reacts in horror when he discovers the dentist who is about to drill his teeth is a boy who says, “This will make a little boo-boo.”

The other spot shows a woman at the hairdresser who is shocked when she discovers her stylist is a girl who is about to dye her hair pink and says, “Oh, you’ll be so pretty in pink.”

The idea is that if you have a problem with your teeth, you go see a dentist or if you have a health problem, you’ll go see a doctor, Alain says. “If you want to make a real estate transaction, go see a broker.

“You don’t let just anybody take care of your teeth when you have a dental problem. You go to recognized experts and it’s the same thing for us in real estate.”

The campaign began during the Christmas holidays and resumed in mid-January. It continues until mid-March.

Created by Gendron Communication, it’s the second year for the “Real estate… it’s not a kids’ game” campaign. Last year’s TV spots showed children playing a board game. In one of the spots, a kid picks up a card that says, “Your buyer has changed his mind. Go back to the starting line.” Another spot shows a kid picking up a card that says, “Your condo fees have tripled.”

An online survey conducted by Leger Marketing after last year’s campaign found the messages were well received, understood and convincing. The survey questioned people who intend to buy or sell a property in the next five years.

“We use a lot of humour to support the message,” Alain says. “What we’ve learned from the other campaign is that people like the concept mostly because it’s simple, it’s precise and the presence of the kids really helps keep the attention” of viewers.

The federation also surveyed brokers on their perceptions of the campaign and found the comments were extremely positive, Alain says.

In the wake of an agreement between CREA and Quebec boards, the boards pay lower membership dues to the national organization in exchange for the right to conduct their own advertising. Quebec brokers pay advertising dues to the QFREB, which conducts advertising on their behalf.

“The goal is the same (as CREA’s) – to show it’s advantageous and more reassuring to do business with a real estate broker when you buy or sell a home,” Alain says of the Quebec campaign.

However, she notes CREA’s advertising puts a greater accent on showing the complexities that can arise when people try to sell on their own. “Our communication is geared to showing the added value of a broker.”

Last year’s campaign put greater emphasis on showing the complications that could happen in a transaction and that “it doesn’t always go the way you want.”

The campaign emphasizes the importance of particular skills that are required for conducting real estate transactions properly. It also promotes the Quebec listing service for finding a property or broker.

The French-language TV spots are being shown during prime time on the Radio-Canada and TVA networks. Radio and web ads are in both French and English.

“My daddy sold our house with the help of a really real real estate broker ‘cause selling a house is no kids’ game,” says a child on one of the radio ads.

Print ads are in English only, which better reaches the English-language audience that is primarily in Montreal, Alain says.

Quebec real estate brokers are “your key to a better transaction,” reads one of the print ads. “A real estate transaction is a complex affair, one that calls for specific skills and knowledge if it’s to be truly successful.”

Asked whether the campaign is a response to For Sale by Owner firms, Alain says, “The federation is in favour of free choice. People have always had the option to sell on their own or to sell with a broker. We continue to be for free choice.”

However, the public is sometimes confused about the services they’ll get from “real estate coaches.” The federation’s goal is to inform consumers that there are recognized experts who receive proper training and are responsible for the advice they give. People who give advice as coaches do not have the same legal responsibilities as a real estate broker.

Alain would not divulge the cost of the campaign.

The two English radio spots can be heard here and here.

Click here to view last year’s English TV ad.


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