Marketing

Mood Board: How a cold DM led to Realtor.com’s latest campaign

Majority, the Atlanta–based agency co-founded by Shaquille O’Neal, had the perfect idea (and celeb) for the campaign—it just needed to get the brand’s attention first.
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Realtor.com

· 3 min read

Typically, brands get to choose the agencies they work with, selecting them after extensive reviews. But that’s not always the case.

Last year, Omid Farhang, CEO of the Atlanta–based agency Majority co-founded by Shaquille O’Neal, strategically slid into the LinkedIn DMs of Charlie Quirk, Realtor.com’s director of brand strategy, offering up a campaign idea that already had the perfect celebrity on board. Turns out, Quirk was interested—which is how Realtor.com’s latest campaign came to be.

Marketing Brew spoke with Farhang and Micöl Rankin, Majority’s associate creative director,  about the unorthodox way the agency started working with Realtor.com, collaborating with rapper Big Boi, and the campaign’s larger goals.

The inception: “You don’t know me. I don’t know you. You might be familiar with an ad that we made that’s sort of breaking the internet today.” That’s how Farhang said he began his LinkedIn message to Quirk.

The ad he was referencing? “Vax That Thang Up,” a spot Majority created over the summer for dating app BLK. The music video, which now has more than 3 million views on YouTube, features Juvenile, Mannie Fresh, and Mia X turning Juvenile and Mannie Fresh’s rap classic “Back That Thang Up” into a vaccine anthem.

“We’ve got an idea for you,” Farhang went on in his DM to Quirk. “We have a celebrity who we’ve already spoken to, who is in on the idea. I’d like to share it with you for free. If you love it, let’s make it. If you don’t, have a nice life. No hard feelings.”

Quirk, already familiar with Majority’s work, replied right away. He looped in Amit Kulkarni, Realtor.com’s VP of brand and creative, and with his approval and assistance, Majority got to work.

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“My knee-jerk reaction to a cold email on LinkedIn is skepticism,” Quirk told us via LinkedIn. “Most agencies will share a boilerplate creds deck before asking for a project. But Omid and the Majority team had really done their due diligence about our brand and product.”

Grown up: The celebrity Farhang teased in his note to Quirk? Big Boi, best known as a member of the hip-hop duo Outkast alongside André 3000. Majority developed a relationship with the rapper while working on an ad for children’s clothing brand OshKosh B’gosh last year.

The idea for an ad celebrating someone’s first “Big Boi” house sprung up organically in conversation with him, Farhang said, but they didn’t originally have a client in mind—or a song. In fact, Farhang said the ad was well underway by the time the team realized Outkast’s “The Way You Move” was all but written for this particular spot.

Zoom out: The campaign’s primary goal (other than promoting Realor.com, of course) was to depict and celebrate first-time Black homeowners. One ad on its own won’t fix the gap between Black and white homeownership in the US, Rankin told us, but he hopes the work will help to normalize uplifting depictions of Black people.

“We’re actualizing the normalcy of Black success, and I think that is a huge core tenet of where a lot of advertisers are trying to get,” Rankin explained. “This normalcy of Blackness shines through in the execution, and that is what the audience will see.”

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