Rent.com has made its first foray into advertising with its “Totally Legit” campaign, which is obviously aimed at millennials as it focuses on J.B. Smoove, who is self-described as the “Legit-a-Master.” He says he is the protector of apartment shoppers everywhere to ensure that they are getting legitimate reviews and information from real residents when they visit rent.com to look for a new apartment.
The problem is that the ads themselves don’t really seem legit.
The tone of the rent.com totally legit campaign feels contrary to the message of the ads. The message is that apartment seekers should take rent.com seriously because they work very hard to make sure its information and reviews are legitimate. But the content of the ad is like a punch line to a joke that everyone should be in on. It’s too silly.
Is apartments.com any less legit?
Furthermore, after visiting rent.com and apartments.com, where Jeff Goldblum plays a similar character as J.B. Smoove, I find rent.com to be no more or less legit than apartments.com. If you think about it, isn’t being legit a table stake in an apartment listing site? Would apartments, who no doubt pay a fee for the lead, and apartment hunters not expect what is presented on the site to be a fair and accurate as possible?
If target audiences believed that other sites were not legit, then rent.com could have a powerful position in the market. However, I don’t sense that apartment seekers think apartments.com, for example, is untrustworthy with its information.
Rent.com will see benefits from this campaign, as most apartment buildings have not advertised before and, up till now, rent.com has had low awareness. It’s new terrain.
But unless rent.com plans on continually advertising on TV, I fear that any gains will be short-lived, as the ads do not adequately provide any real brand building foundation.