is using sponsorship to engage home buyers and sellers as the housing market continues to heat up.

The real estate portal supported the summer release of Universal Pictures’ The Secret Life of Pets and last month wrapped a partnership with the Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival presented by Funny or Die. 

In addition, is in the early stages of launching a multiyear partnership with the NBA Golden State Warriors as the team plans its move to San Francisco in 2019.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to introduce our brand to relevant audiences at moments where they can actually engage, and take the time to connect with our message,” said Andrew Strickman, senior vice president of brand and creative.

To no surprise, digital content plays a key role in’s activation strategy. The web site activated The Secret Life of Pets with a promotion that encouraged people to send clips of their pets re-enacting scenes from the movie, while it leveraged the Oddball Comedy Festival with short-form digital content created with actress/comedian Elizabeth Banks during intermission.

“For a number of years, humor has been our brand differentiator from the sea of sameness that is most real estate advertising. Our recent campaigns with Elizabeth Banks solidified that connection, and we thought Oddball offered us a tight connection to that approach.” looks for partnerships in which properties take a vested interest in helping the web site accomplish its marketing goals, he said.  

“Sponsorship isn’t that interesting to us. Partnership is where we find there is more actual value to be found. Generally, I won’t invest budget that could be used more directly unless I feel that our partner in that effort understands our goals and works with us to create unique, memorable ways to bring a brand to life.”

That approach resulted in a multichannel activation strategy around the Oddball Comedy Festival. In addition to digital content, leveraged the tie with a sweepstakes that dangled “Prime Real Estate Seats” in the first 20 rows of each venue, co-branded Snapchat Geofilters and backstage interviews on Facebook Live.

“This was our first time on the tour and we definitely created a lot of goodwill and worked to get our message to consumers in unique ways. With any partnership like this there are learnings you take back and work through to create greater success in future efforts.”—operated by News Corp. subsidiary Move, Inc. —also has a strategic partnership with Scripps Networks, parent of the HGTV and DIY cable networks.

The partnership “brings us great value above and beyond our media spend,” said Strickman.