Purplebricks ads back to “shouting about” low fees, as UK cost of living crisis bites

UK agency Purplebricks says a decision to revive an advertising campaign targeting real estate agent commission is paying dividends, after blaming a previous change in marketing direction for profit losses. 

The agency relaunched its ‘Commisery’ campaign – which claims vendors could save “thousands” in commission payments by choosing to list with Purplebricks, which operates on a low fee model – in October this year. 

On an earnings call, reported on by UK publication Marketing Week, CEO Helena Marston said that this “proposition has never been more relevant” given the current economic environment. 

Ms Marston pointed to a six percentage point increase in the company’s ‘consideration score’ as evidence the campaign was working. 

“Our relevant, low-cost proposition, effectively communicated via our new marketing campaign, supports our customers and is especially attractive in these economically challenging times,” said Marston.

She had previously blamed “missteps” in the company’s marketing strategy – including a pivot away from highlighting Purplebricks’ low fee model in advertising  – to a fall in profits. 

The company had now “gone back to shouting about [its] low fixed fee” as part of a marketing reset. 

Purplebricks revenue fell 16 per cent to £34.5 million (A$62.3 million) during the six months to 31 October and gross profit fell 38 per cent  to £16.2 million (A$29.2 million) compared to the same period last year.

Ms Marston attributed Purplebricks unprofitability to a previous “flawed understanding of [its] demand drivers” which prevented it “from achieving predictable and sustainable growth”.

Purplebricks previously had outfits in Australia and the United States before deciding to shutter those businesses in 2019 after sustaining operating losses. 

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Jack Needham

Jack Needham is the Digital Editor at Elite Agent