Online house-hunting took on an unexpectedly steamy aura in this weekend's installment of "Saturday Night Live."
What Happened: The Feb. 6 show included a mock advertisement for the real estate services company Zillow Group Inc (NASDAQ:ZG) that turned house-hunting into a voyeuristic pursuit. The skit reimagined Zillow as a digital solution for millennials bored with sex and seeking a new outlet for their sensual energy.
"I need a new fantasy," declared guest host Dan Levy in a montage of frustrated men in their late 30s bemoaning the need for excitement.
According to the skit's premise, browsing through Zillow.com can feed a gnawing carnal hunger. Framed in the overheated style of old-school commercials for 1-900 sex talk phone lines, Zillow is presented as a fantasy experience with real estate searches fulfilling a sensual obsession. The skit is ripe with innuendos. Cast member Heidi Gardner purrs, "Real estate is your sex now — our listings are standing by, waiting for you to browse them," and Levy moans, "I'd never want to live in North Carolina. But if I did, I could buy a big, gross mansion."
The kicker for the skit is the mistake of allowing reality to permeate fantasy, with an aroused Mikey Day tapping into the Zillow app and getting a shrill and pushy Cecily Strong as a RE/MAX Holdings Inc (NYSE:RMAX) agent trying too hard to make a sale.
Was it Funny? Real estate and adult humor rarely cross paths, but this skit seemed to tickle funny bones. Social media reaction suggested the Zillow spoof was a highlight of this "SNL" episode, with many people happily admitting that browsing Zillow was a guilty (if not libido-tickling) pleasure.
The Seattle-headquartered company seemed to get a chuckle out of it, retweeting a video of the skit and Twitter users' praise. The company also gave its thumbs up to the show's guest host by tweeting, "hey @danjlevy see you at home."
Zillow is an "SNL" advertiser and offered a genuine (and decidedly G-rated) commercial for house hunters later in the broadcast.
As for RE/MAX, the company made no mention of the skit on its social media channels, but Paul V. Gartlan, regional director of RE/MAX Ireland, commented on Twitter: "RE/MAX getting poked here but that's only because we're the number one name in real estate."