Century 21 Quietly Has Fun With Its Silent, Autoplaying Ads on Facebook

Enabling audio, online and in your life

Instead of watching a Facebook ad that makes you long for a langorous night playing guitar by the firepit, why not just buy a house? That's the mental leap Century 21 asks you to make in its new set of cheeky 15-second Facebook ads.

Each of the four videos, created by agency Sleek Machine, will autoplay on Facebook automatically, without sound, until people click on them. Playing with that feature, they include subtitles that describe the sounds users are missing—guitar playing, bacon sizzling, wind chimes or children playing.

You can enjoy these charming domestic soundtracks by clicking on the video to activate its audio. Or, the ads says, you can just buy a home. (Then you can fill it with actual cooking bacon, or kids.)

Sleek Machine says client frustration with Facebook autoplay's silence-before-clicking convention inspired the campaign, titled "Sounds of Home."

But this kind of medium-specific messaging, used to manipulate and play with the medium itself, is what helped make Geico's "Unskippable" pre-roll ads such a smash: If viewers get frustrated with advertising, it's often because they're being broadcast the same message, in the exact same way, across platforms. So, making the medium itself a creative constraint both acknowledges users' frustration and potentially makes them more receptive to the spirit of the work.

In the case of Century 21, the leap from activating audio to dropping $20,000 (add a zero if you live in New York City) on a down payment for a house is a pretty big one to ask audiences to make, even if the prompt is winking hard. But the idea has charisma, especially for a short window.

Then again, for people who love bacon—and waking up to the smell of it—there are probably easier, more affordable solutions.

@GabrielBeltrone gabriel.beltrone@gmail.com Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.
Publish date: September 18, 2015 https://dev.adweek.com/creativity/century-21-quietly-has-fun-its-silent-autoplaying-ads-facebook-167010/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT