CoStar takes portal war to YouTube, promises new platform



costar ads

In three star-studded advertisements for Homes.com that appeared on YouTube over the weekend, the CoStar Group teases a “revolutionized” shopping experience ahead of Super Bowl Sunday.

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Amid CoStar’s ongoing push to become a go-to residential real estate portal — and dethrone the incumbents along the way — the company just debuted a series of teaser ads for its flagship Homes.com brand.

The ads appeared on YouTube Sunday. In one, Schitt’s Creek actor Dan Levy and Saturday Night Live’s Heidi Gardner sit around a table trying to think of a slogan for Homes.com. In another, rapper Lil Wayne walks through a high school hallway before Levy again appears, this time staring directly into the camera.

And in a third ad, a group of business executive sit around waiting for someone important — who appears only as a blur at the end of the video.

Each of the three ads ends by displaying the date Feb. 11, 2024. That’s this Sunday, and also happens to be when the Super Bowl is happening. Aside from the date, the videos’ descriptions also tease additional information.

“We’re launching a powerful new home-shopping platform,” the description of the Levy-Gardner video states.

Greg Robertson’s Vendor Alley first noticed the ads.

Though the public will evidently have to wait a few more days to find out what all of this means, the series of ads comes as CoStar — long a behemoth in commercial real estate — continues pushing into the residential real estate sector. That push has included the acquisition of Homesnap and Homes.com, in 2020 and 2021, respectively, as well as pointed critiques of the business models of rivals such as Zillow.

CoStar has also made a point of touting the growing web traffic to its Homes.com network — sometimes to the chagrin of rivals.

The new ads are also not the first time CoStar has used celebrity spokespeople. In the past, the company embarked on a major advertising push for its Apartments.com rental portal that prominently featured actor Jeff Goldblum. The company first debuted that campaign in 2015, but the ads have remained ubiquitous on streaming and online video platforms in more recent years as well.

Whether CoStar can now push its Homes.com platform to the top of the portal heap remains to be seen. But the new ads make it clear that the company does not lack for ambition.

“Home-shopping is about to be revolutionized,” the description on the waiting executives ad states, “any minute now.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II





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