Marvel’s X-Men film universe has been built over the last 16 years across two different franchises. We’ve seen different actors play the same characters (sometimes even in the same movie), but there’s one character we’ve seen plenty of but still know little about. No, not Colossus, but the home for gifted youngsters known as the X-Mansion.
Despite all the fights, invasions, and mutant power classes, it’d be nice to just wander around the place. Now, ahead of the May 19 arrival of X-Men: Apocalypse, 20th Century Fox teamed with Coldwell Banker real estate to do just that.
In the latest commercial partnership to preview brief glimpses of upcoming superhero blockbusters–remember when Jeep went to Gotham, Bruce Wayne flew Turkish Airlines, Audi got pounced by Black Panther, or the X-Men had Wi-Fi troubles?–the real estate brand has been granted the right to run the listing for the $75 million fictional property.
The listing includes a description of the 24-plus bedroom estate, that features an automated, state-of-the-art training facility, fully retractable basketball court, and underground parking–for your Blackbird jet. Using Coldwell Banker’s “Seller Story” feature, the X-Mansion listing also includes a history and memory of the home written by one of the film’s screenwriters.
Beyond the listing, the campaign–created with agency Siltanen & Partners–includes two ads, a behind-the-scenes video filmed on set about the role the X-Mansion and specific rooms have in the film. It also has interviews with actors, director Bryan Singer, as well as the film’s production designer and supervising art director, talking about putting the X in the the X-Mansion.
Coldwell Banker chief marketing officer Sean Blankenship says the partnership came about when he got a call from 20th Century Fox. “When we heard from them, we were intrigued, obviously it’s a great franchise that has a lot of excitement around it, but it was definitely outside the box for us,” says Blankenship. “But once we looked closer, we saw that a lot of the film revolves around the X-Mansion, so if felt really true to our brand to have some fun with that.”
Even though this campaign involves a blockbuster film and mutants, for Blankenship it’s consistent with the tone and approach the brand has established in its marketing partnerships over the last few years. In 2014, the brand created a video series going inside the homes of Major League baseball stars and talking to them about what home means to them. Last year, a campaign with Adopt-a-Pet.com pledged to find homes for 20,000 dogs in 2015.
“We’ve carved out a great core message for the brand, which has to do with the emotional connection to the home, as opposed to some of the much more rational aspects of the industry,” says Blankenship. “The one thing we were really focused on, is trying to connect with and understand the next generation of buyers and sellers in real estate, and I think this will go a long way in doing that.”
Brands and movies working together is nothing new, and Blankenship says that the increasingly elaborate examples–read: Audi and Captain America: Civil War–have come from a common awareness that in a very fragmented and cluttered media world, brands are looking at ways to collaborate to break through more effectively.
“Certainly we’ve seen studios and movies collaborate before. You couldn’t go anywhere last year without seeing BB-8,” says Blankenship. “But we were looking for something a bit deeper.”
In deciding whether to get involved or not, Blankenship and his team had to ask themselves a few key questions. “You need an internal constitution that stays true to the brand,” he says. “You may be excited about something on a personal level and think it’s really cool, but is it something that really aligns with the brand, do we have a quality partner to work with here? To that point, is this a partnership or just someone who wants us to advertise? That’s a big one for us. Once we get past that, the next question is, how is this going to benefit our brokers and agents? Is this something they can get behind and activate on a local level? At the end of the day we want to grow our franchise, and want our business to grow, so we want to make sure we’re doing something with a broad appeal that will have a positive effect on our business.”