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  • Mark Kalkwarf

(not) ATYPICAL Real Estate Marketing "Show" Recap: #3 Inspiration from outside of CRE

As an agency exclusively focused on real estate, it’s tempting to fall into run-of-the-mill, vacuous phrasing and navy blazers that are so prevalent in our industry.

Of course, we aren’t run of the mill - we’re ATYPICAL! No navy blazers for us thank you very much – it gets too hot in sunny Cape Town anyway. We’re all about campaigns with measurable impact.

In order to keep things fresh, we like to draw inspiration from all over. In this rundown of episode three of the (not) ATYPICAL Real Estate Marketing "Show", we share a few of our favorite, most influential campaigns and thought leaders that have influenced our approach to marketing.

Let’s go!

Gross right?! Not to worry, it gets interesting!

In Feb 2020, Burger King unveiled a global ad campaign highlighting its commitment to dropping all artificial preservatives.

The aim of this was not to drive short-term sales, but rather about the quality of their food and future-proofing the brand long-term. Making a burger look unappetizing in our consumer-driven culture is a bold move, but it makes a strong point and definitely isn’t something you’re likely to forget.


The campaign had 8.4 billion organic media impressions. The video was watched for a total of almost 1.4 million minutes on Facebook, with 39% of viewers watching the full 45 seconds.

What we’re taking from the campaign:

  • Risk is worth it – the ad invokes a strong reaction which makes the audience want to share and discuss the content and keeps it top of mind.

  • Timing is everything – the discussion on preservatives and criticism of fast food brands has been a hot topic for a number of years, with McDonalds receiving the brunt of the criticism. Burger King steers into the skid with this campaign, owning their products, with powerful results.

  • Clarity is key – there is a clear marketing message: we don’t do preservatives. Burger King bears it all by showing a Whopper slowly decomposing alongside a date stamp. This intense visual is not appealing in the least, but works well with the tagline: “The beauty of no artificial preservatives.” The contrast makes you think and reminds you once again to focus on what is important = the integrity of the food.

  • The Biggest takeaway (pun intended) – don’t be afraid to face criticism, all greatness does. The best campaigns are meant to make waves.

Metro Trains approached McCann with a problem. People were increasingly making foolish choices around trains that caused serious injury and even death. This especially applied to the younger generation.

Their solution was excellent. Instead of billboards and posters that no one would pay attention to, they created an entertaining video with characters that die in comical, unnecessary ways.

The campaign instantly went viral! It was so popular that they created an assortment of supporting content like gifs, a children’s book, and even a mobile game.

Warning before you watch it – the song will be stuck in your head for days!


There was a 21% reduction in railway accidents following the campaign and 127 million people pledged to be safer around trains.

Over 200 million views and 5 million shares later, it’s one of the most shared ads of all time and was awarded 28 Cannes Lions including five Grand Prix awards.

What we’re taking from the campaign:

  • Storytelling sells – anything can be fun when told from an interesting angle. People weren’t sharing the content because they were excited about safety, they shared it because it was interesting, creative, and engaging.

  • Humor brings ideas home – the morbid topic was made palatable by poking fun in a ridiculous way. Being able to laugh makes content enjoyable and opens people to seeing things in a different light which helps them connect with the topic.

  • Know thy audience – they creatively appealed to the younger generation which was the demographic most affected by railway incidents.

  • Content strategy is key – rolling out over time, using a variety of different content pieces and across different platforms, all aimed at attracting your target audience will have the greatest impact.

Hacking contagious concepts

To end off, we have to share one of the greatest books around ideation and implementation we’ve found. ‘Contagious – Why things catch on’ by Jonah Berger, reveals the science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. In other words, why some things catch on and others don’t.

Want a great way to sense check if your campaign concept is on the right track? Here are the six key STEPPS that make a campaign or idea contagious according to Berger.

  1. Social Currency - people care how they appear to others. Make them feel like insiders and you have a loyal customer.

  2. Triggers - top-of-mind means tip-of-tongue. Grow your habitat so that people are frequently triggered to think about your product or idea.

  3. Emotion - emotional content often goes viral, so focus on feelings rather than function.

  4. Public- products and initiatives that advertise themselves create visible behavioral residue.

  5. Practical Value - useful things get shared. Highlight value and expertise so that people pass the content on.

  6. Stories- these are vessels that carry your message. Create a narrative people can connect with.

That’s all for this week – don’t forget to let us know what you thought about the content and what you’d like us to unpack next. Here’s the link to this week’s (not) ATYPICAL Real Estate Marketing "Show". Lekker!


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