UK’s #1 Roommate Finding Service SpareRoom Takes New York City By Storm With Major New Ad Campaign

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Fresh creative from boutique ad agency Levinson Tractenberg drives the social, digital and outdoor campaign aimed at 20-somethings

The goal is to create trust in a fun and memorable way

A lot has changed in the world recently. But one thing remains constant: people need a place to live. And, more than ever, they are looking to share costs with roommates who are reliable, respectful and trustworthy.

SpareRoom, Britain’s leading flat-sharing service for over 10 years, is launching their first-ever citywide ad campaign to raise awareness of their site and app. What sets SpareRoom apart is the power they give users to customize their search parameters to find people who match their lifestyle, interests and habits. Safety is top priority at SpareRoom. Ads are checked both by an automated system and then by a team of real people, so users have one less thing to worry about in these trying times.

The Levinson Tractenberg creative team, spearheaded by Associate Creative Director John Viglione, approached the assignment with a humorous and granular approach to issues of trust between roommates. And the team came at it from personal experience with some of the common sources of friction when people share close living quarters and common areas with others.

“One of the biggest areas of conflict has to do with personal hygiene. Roommates share kitchens, living rooms and usually bathrooms too. Having a good, thoughtful roommate can make the difference between living well and a living hell,” explains Joel Tractenberg, Partner at Levinson Tractenberg. “John and the team did a great job of finding the humanity and humor in this situation in a way that is visually arresting and creates a smile associated with the brand.”

SpareRooms biggest competitor in the roommate space is Craigslist. “Craigslist is like the Wild West,” says Joel Levinson, Partner at Levinson Tractenberg. “You can find roommates of course, but you can also find people selling fake concert tickets and giant balls of belly button lint. SpareRoom uses their 20-plus years’ experience of running roommate sites to make the experience safe as well as effective. We wanted to convey that level of trust, but in a fun way.”

The campaign features citywide outdoor billboards and street kiosks, as well as digital executions across all online platforms. Evidence and data point to the gradual reopening of NYC and the pedestrian street traffic is already coming back to pre-COVID levels, so this media mix, while carrying some risk in the event of a second wave of the virus, presented tremendous upside value in terms of reward on risk.

The brand team had originally looked at subway advertising, but in light of COVID felt that above ground made more sense at this time. The goal shifted from targeting people on their way to and from work to grabbing them as they head to the local store or outdoor restaurant, or out for a jog or bike ride. Layering on digital helps ensure that the audience is being engaged in a 360 degree way.

But regardless of media, none of it matters much without strong creative, which is Levinson Tractenberg’s core strength. “We were just thrilled with the humor and visual power of what the agency presented us,” says Matt Hutchinson, Director of Communications for SpareRoom. “They presented a lot of strong work but this campaign really spoke to us and made us smile.”

As Rupert Hunt, Founder and Managing Director of the privately-held company, sums up, “It is a bit of a leap of faith for us to jump into the NYC market at this scale in these challenging times, but Levinson Tractenberg brought us some compelling values that we felt were too good to pass up.”

The campaign is scheduled to run for 12 weeks.

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Joel Tractenberg

Matt Hutchinson
The Levinson Tractenberg Group
since: 02/2015
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