NAR ad campaign stresses difference between Realtors, agents

The new ad campaign’s video and radio commercials feature Realtors going the extra mile for their clients, putting their expertise to work when a surprise obstacle pops up and staying true to the Realtors’ Code of Ethics.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) launched its fourth “That’s Who We R” national ad campaign Tuesday, seeking to differentiate Realtors from other agents and tech platforms.

A common complaint in the real estate industry is that most consumers don’t know that only members of NAR can call themselves Realtors, though NAR itself has said that its own research shows consumers know the difference. Still, the advertising campaign’s core message this year is “the Difference is Real” — emphasizing that Realtors work “at a higher standard” than agents who are not Realtors, the trade group said.

“The difference between an agent and a Realtor is real,” one 15-second radio ad says. “Realtors have the expertise to find exactly what you need. And the ethics to do the right thing, even when it’s the harder thing. Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors. That’s Who We R.”

The largest trade association in the country, NAR hit a record-high membership last year, nearing 1.6 million members. For more than 20 years, NAR members have paid a $35 dues assessment annually for consumer advertising to promote the Realtor brand. For 2021 alone, that adds up to a total of $54.58 million.

The NAR board of directors typically renews the assessment every three years at the association’s midyear conference in May. The assessment is up for renewal this year.

The new ad campaign’s 15- and 30-second video and radio commercials, created with ad agency Havas Chicago, feature Realtors going the extra mile for their clients, putting their expertise to work when a surprise obstacle pops up and staying true to the Realtors’ Code of Ethics when it comes to making sure their clients are fully informed about a purchase.

“These ads highlight the value Realtors bring by showcasing our members’ dedication, expertise and professionalism,” Victoria Gillespie, NAR chief marketing and communications officer, said in a statement.

“As a former agent and Realtor, I know personally how we go above and beyond to make ownership a reality for our clients. By establishing and cultivating trusted partnerships with millions of prospective property owners, Realtors are not only champions for consumers, but also for the communities they serve.”

The campaign includes a mix of TV, radio, streaming video, digital audio, social and search ads. NAR is offering campaign marketing materials for its members and local Realtor associations to use on its “That’s Who We R” website.

The campaign’s commercials attempt to connect with consumers through “simple yet personal and emotional moments” using diverse characters and real estate situations — both residential and commercial — that showcase “Realtors’ unrivaled expertise, ethics and neighborhood knowledge” and inspire confidence and trust, according to NAR.

“We understood that our creative perspective needed to instantly resonate with consumers who may feel unsure about who or what to trust on their individualized path to ownership,” Myra Nussbaum, president and chief creative officer of Havas Chicago, said in a statement.

“The cultural truth is brought to the screen through the mix of authentic, emotional and unexpected moments that can occur throughout the property-buying process. The output is a creative narrative that shows how Realtors partner with their clients during what is often the biggest purchase a person makes in their life.”


“[W]e take immense pride in being expert guides and supportive counselors at every touchpoint throughout the real estate transaction,” NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith said in a statement. “I am extremely proud of NAR’s ad campaign and how it delivers on our promise to members, boldly distinguishing Realtors within the crowded real estate industry.”

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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