Last week, CENTURY 21 became the third major brand (and the first real estate company) integrated into EA’s SimCity Social. Following in the footsteps of Dunkin’ Donuts and Mercedes-Benz, the real-estate brand is embracing social gaming in a big way — with the largest game provider (EA), on the most popular social network (Facebook).
Most SimCity Social players fit into CENTURY 21’s target age group of 25-34 year-olds — the largest demographic of homebuyers, according to the CENTURY 21 blog. In an interview with Forbes, CENTURY 21 CMO Bev Thorne said that social gamers are 27% more likely “to have either bought their first home in the last year or are planning to buy their first home in the next year.”
Why did CENTURY 21 choose SimCity Social in particular? Today’s homebuyers are “more social than ever,” searching for homes online and sharing those listings with their social networks before reaching out to real estate companies. CENTURY 21 saw a clear alignment between their brand and the nature of the game: to create and maintain a real estate empire for virtual profit.
In addition, research shows that “95% of people playing games do not multitask,” making them a highly captive audience. Gamers also recall ads from Facebook games: 90% were able to remember the message of advertisements in a Facebook game one week later.
How do SimCity Social players interact with CENTURY 21? The brand provides “unique, in-game value” to players by:
- providing the opportunity to build a CENTURY 21 Office building and earn virtual currency (Simoleons)
- helping players grow their cities by buying new homes, businesses and land
- providing the option to perform “friend or foe” actions on neighbors’ CENTURY 21 Office Buildings to earn additional merits in the game
- allowing players to earn an energy boost by watching a CENTURY 21 commercial within the game
This is not CENTURY 21’s first foray into social gaming: last year the brand launched a campaign with ngmoco’s mobile game We City, and learned that “social gaming provides enormous opportunities for providing homebuyers and sellers with virtual value that translates into increased brand awareness.”
CENTURY 21 is taking advantage of social gaming to deliver “the virtual dream of homeownership” to its target demographic – and believes that “the up-and-coming generation of homebuyers will appreciate our efforts to connect with them in new and innovative ways.”