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zillowad1Zillow may be one of the leading online real estate companies in the U.S. But even so, most Americans still don’t know anything about it.

The Seattle company is hoping to change that perception this year, embarking on a huge $20 million to $30 million advertising campaign that’s designed to position Zillow as the No. 1 brand in the category.

Today, Zillow is taking the wraps off a new advertisement, which will run nationwide on cable networks such as HGTV, CNN, USA, A&E and Lifetime.  Dubbed “Long Distance,” the tear-jerker ad shows how a military family uses Zillow to shop for a home when separated by continents.

As we’ve noted, Zillow’s broad-based ad campaign certainly runs counter to the way that the company started, largely through word-of-mouth and proactive public relations.

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff

However, earlier this year, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff said that the company would step on the gas in an effort to fill what he called “brand whitespace” in the real estate category. He later added that Zillow’s marketing effort was part of a plan to “create a massive, enduring brand.” Zillow now attracts about 55 million monthly visitors.

Here’s a look at the latest ad, part of the company’s “Find Your Way Home” campaign. The new ad comes amid one of the busiest home shopping periods, and during a resurgence in the real estate market. What do you think?

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