Calgary home builder Calbridge gets nonsensical with new brand campaign

Who: Calbridge Homes and Trigger Communications, with Joe Media and Six Degrees for production.

What: “The non-sequitur campaign,” promoting the premium home builder. Trigger has been working with Calbridge for the past two-and-a-half years.

When & Where: The campaign, which includes TV, radio, print and digital, runs through the end of the year in Calgary and surrounding area. There is also a social media component inviting people to submit their own non-sequiturs for a chance to win a $50 Starbucks gift card and have their submission featured on a Calgary-area billboard or TSA early next year.

Screen Shot 2019-12-02 at 1.23.21 PM.pngHow: The campaign subverts category norms by juxtaposing standard new home imagery with completely nonsensical descriptions. The centrepiece is a pair of 30-second spots that mimic traditional home builder spots, with images of beautiful home interiors accompanied by lilting piano music.

The scripts, written by Trigger ACD Lance Risseeuw, sound like they were written using Mad Libs, including phrases like “sophisticated wizards jog barefoot easy” and “Tuesday banana hands.” The payoff comes in the form of a super at the end of the spot: “When what you build is impeccable, what you say is irrelevant.”

Why: The campaign is an attempt by Calbridge to showcase its premium products while also combating sameness in the category—which has traditionally leaned on beauty shots and smiling families.

It was one of three creative concepts Trigger presented to Calbridge, says the agency’s managing director, Geoff Hardwicke. “This was definitely the one that got their attention, but I will say there was some nervousness at the beginning because of how different it was,” he says. “It was making them understand that the reality is everybody is doing exactly the same thing, and this right-hand turn will have an impact.”

The context: The Calgary housing market is in the midst of a brutal stretch, with house prices in free-fall.

According to a recent CBC report citing Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation data, there were 15.8% fewer housing starts for single-family detached homes in the Calgary market during the first nine months of this year.

And we quote: “We’re a brand that’s always believed in letting our homes speak for themselves. Quite simply, we focus our energy on building the highest-quality homes possible. This way, we can focus on helping versus selling and encouraging people to experience our homes, first-hand. In other words, a sales pitch is irrelevant.” — Ariana Kelly, Calbridge Homes marketing manager

Chris Powell