The Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association (HBA) is painting the town orange with a Get Home Atlanta ad campaign.
The goal of the campaign, which officially launched on Sept. 15, is to remind consumers of all the reasons that home ownership is a great idea, says David Ellis, executive vice president of the Greater Atlanta HBA.
"There's so much confusion about mortgages and pricing," Ellis says. "We want to get people to think about the fact that it's a good time to buy a home and all the reasons that a new home is a good investment."
To date, the HBA has raised more than $400,000 in cash and in-kind contributions from local builders, mortgage lenders, media outlets, and other businesses, Ellis says. The money has been used to virtually plaster the metro market, which has about four million residents, with the orange Get Home Atlanta logo through mid-November. If fundraising continues as strongly as it has, the campaign will take a hiatus over the holidays and re-launch in January to gear up for the spring selling season, Ellis says.
Currently, the campaign appears in 30 newspapers and 20 magazines, on more than 100 MARTA buses and 15 billboards rotating throughout the market, as well as on radio, TV, and cable stations. The HBA also produced about 50,000 flyers, 10,000 yard signs, and 20,000 bumper stickers, which were distributed to campaign sponsors.
"We're absolutely everywhere we can touch every demographic in the Atlanta market," says Ray Bouley, president of Full Circle Real Estate Marketing. Bouley proposed the campaign to the Atlanta HBA leadership early this year after the NAHB announced it had matching funds available to help local groups try to counter the wave of negative press about the housing market. "It's become guerilla marketing. Stickers are starting to show up in the Atlanta airport, on cars, and at gas stations."
Local media has responded generously, Bouley says, offering discounted or free advertising space. Between that and the NAHB matching dollars, every dollar raised locally is generating $3 worth of advertising value.
All of the ads, stickers, and yard signs are designed to drive prospective home buyers to the campaign Web site, www.gethomeatl.com. A week into the campaign, the site has received nearly 2,000 unique visitors, Bouley says.
The site offers detailed information on reasons why now is a great time to buy a home. Prospective home buyers who are pre-qualified for a mortgage also can register for a week-long Florida vacation or a catered party in a suite at an Atlanta Thrashers hockey game. Those who aren't pre-qualified with a lender can link to one of five sponsors to fill out an application.
With the Federal Reserve's cut on the prime interest rate last week, the campaign's launch couldn't have been timed better, says Steve Palmer, CFO of Duluth, Ga.-based Bowen Family Homes and incoming president of the Greater Atlanta HBA.
"We keep saying it's a great time to buy, but the public perception is you can't get a loan," he says. "That's clearly not the case. The ad campaign, together with the rate cut, gives consumers a psychological and economic boost. We're finally in a position where home buyers are receptive to the message that it's a good time to buy."
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA.