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NAR’s first major national advertising campaign

As NAR’s annual Midyear Meetings are underway this week in Washington, DC, we took a look in the Archives to find out what happened at the Midyear Meetings half a century ago.  In 1963, the meetings were held in Chicago in June, where attendees were updated on the progress of the National Association’s first major national advertising campaign.

NAR had engaged in national ad campaigns before, notably in conjunction with the federal government’s “Own Your Own Home” initiative in 1919 and another targeting local newspapers in the early 1930s.  This campaign, though, was much more closely orchestrated than earlier efforts, seeking to put the REALTOR® trademark before as many public eyes as possible.

Full-page ads appeared in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, Look, and Newsweek, all emphasizing the benefits of home ownership and using REALTORS® as professionals in the real estate transaction.  Thousands of REALTORS and local associations subscribed to the promotional campaign for $25. In return they received advertising kits that tied in with the campaign.   In many of the magazines the names of REALTORS® in that locality were printed on a page adjacent to the ad.

REALTORS® of fifty years ago loved the national publicity.   Richard Powelson from Aurora, IL, wrote: “We received a call to list a home yesterday strictly because of this ad…the REALTORS® have gone a long way in helping to educate the public.”   A REALTOR® from Cape Cod sold a home to a prospect who called him because his name was listed in an ad in Look magazine.   Mrs. Win B. Brush of Liberty, MO, said “Soon after the ad came out in Look, I had a call from a large manufacturing corporation asking for my service in an appraisal, and they had obtained my name from the Look ad.”

Kenneth S. Keyes, president of the National Association in 1957, was also a great admirer of the program. “I consider the nationwide advertising campaign one of the greatest things that NAREB has done to increase the prestige of REALTORS®.”

Despite the kudos, this was still relatively new territory for NAR.  At the 1963 Midyear Meetings the association’s Board of Directors took a tentative view of the campaign, deciding to allow the program to continue on an experimental basis for another year.  In 1964 the campaign was granted a longer tenure, continuing through the early 1970s.  NAR’s efforts to promote the benefits of using a REALTOR® have come a long way since 1963, of course.  Visit the Public Advocacy Campaign for a look at the latest national advertising efforts.

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