Century 21 Gets Into the Virtual Real Estate Game


Century 21 recently made a major real estate investment of its own — in ngmoco’s We City, a mobile game that lets virtual developers build things on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. 

Throughout April, We City players could add three free Century 21-branded buildings — real estate office, modern home and skyscraper — and earn virtual “profits” to expand their cities and advance in the game. The results were impressive.[more]

“Today’s consumers are using their smart phones to locate and research homes wherever they are, whenever they want,” said Bev Thorne, CMO of Century 21, to Forbes.com. “With 1 in 4 adults currently owning a smartphone and with mobile gaming attracting 26 million unique viewers each day, this initiative allows us to explore and interact with a growing segment of consumers who are mobile, social and intent on acquiring property – both virtually and in real life.” 

The in-game integration, designed by appssavvy, let players gather in-game currency by watching a Century 21 ad or downloading the new mobile app which includes 3 million plus home listings.

Brandchannel spoke with John Henry, VP of Brand Management at Century 21, about the partnership.

How does a gaming campaign actually impact a brand like yours?

With 26 million users a day, mobile games attract players of all ages. However, We City has an extremely loyal fan base of players who fall between the ages of 25 and 44. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the largest share of homebuyers were between the ages of 25 and 34.

This younger generation of homebuyers and sellers is leading the way in the real estate market, and they happen to be technologically and socially savvy. In fact, it’s in large part due to the younger generation that more than 90 percent of home searches now begin online. 

Biggest surprise in this campaign?

More than 410,000 branded structures were placed, averaging 4.32 Century 21 buildings per user. This means users not only placed all three free buildings, but they used their hard-earned in-game currency to purchase additional Century 21 buildings, which speaks to the popularity of the campaign. 

This is important for us because these structures will remain in the game until the user chooses to remove them, providing ongoing brand engagement and awareness over the coming months.  Over 300,000 views of our 30-second spot were viewed – in their entirety – over the course of the three week campaign!    

And from appssavvy POV, “this effort demonstrates the opportunities of understanding social activity and then engaging through an experience that enhances the activity of millions of mobile social gamers,” commented Chris Cunningham, co-founder and CEO.

We City and Century 21 are a match made in digital real estate heaven, and mobile gaming is the ticket in.