March 1, 2001

– What do shrewd investments and outstanding marketing efforts have in common?
They both pay big dividends. To be sure, the eighth annual NAHB National Sales & Marketing Awards netted a record-high yield. Judges culled more than 1,000 ads, collaterals, models, and other buzz-generating vehicles to identify and salute the best in the industry. This year's Gold Winners raise the bar on new-home marketing.

Two-bedroom homes can list for $900,000 in California, which makes selling the American dream of homeownership to first-time buyers quite tricky. Community Dynamics of Santa Monica, California in partnership with Costa Mesa based Brookfield Homes, succeeded where many others have failed. The builder created a shockingly affordable and attractive community of 190 single-family homes priced from $89,850 to $149,950. El Paseo targeted city residents with an intense community outreach program. "This was sales with concern", says Loren Bloch, president of Community Dynamics. Collateral materials and signs were produced in English and Spanish. Colorful logos appearing on billboards and directional signage, attracted locals, as did flyers, posters, and news releases. "Three informational assemblies drew 3,000 people in a two-week period," Bloch says of the community's low pressure sales seminars. "Buyers were shown that if the could afford the average rent most were paying, they could afford to buy at El Paseo." And buy they did. The community logged 1,000 solid leads on registration day, and sold 24 homes a month for eight straight months until sellout.

Project: El Paseo, Oxnard, California; Builders: Community Dynamics, Santa Monica, California; Brookfield Homes, Costa Mesa; Ad agency: FreeAssociates, Santa Monica; Signage: FreeAssociates/Distinctive Signs, Santa Monica

IN REACH: El Paseo draws buyers into the American Dream in English and Spanish. The dream of homeownership becomes a reality through whimsical friendly logos, and practical "yes, you can own" copy.
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