THE NEXT TIME YOU'RE IN ATLANTA, DON'T BE SURPRISED to see several bright red Volkswagen Beetles wrapped in the Forrest Homes logo. But sales reps aren't driving them, homeowners are. In 14 of its communities, Forrest Homes devised a promotion that rewarded buyers of standing-inventory homes with free, two-year leases of new VW Beetles. “Instead of offering cash back or cash for options, we wanted to create a buzz,” says Beth Marconi-Law, vice president of marketing.

Marconi-Law relied on media relations to place articles and radio spots, as well as billboards with the slogan “Our Homes Come With Bugs” and big yellow “Bug Me!” buttons worn by the marketing and sales staff in public. The campaign generated the attention that her boss, CEO Michael Adamson, had in mind when he thought to combine cars and homes as the ultimate American dream.

“Everyone, from the agents to the homeowners and the media, loves it,” says Marconi-Law, who ran the promotion from February through June. Though tight-lipped about actual sales generated by the campaign and bound by a confidentiality agreement with the local VW dealer that supplied the cars, Law says the effort exceeded expectations in selling off most of the builder's inventory while creating a fleet of rolling billboards in the market.

CAMPAIGN DETAILS Program: “Hot Deals, Cool Wheels” car giveaway/promotion; Developer/Builder: Forrest Homes, Atlanta; Marketing/Advertising agency: Mopdog, Acworth, Ga.; Car dealer: Gossett Volkswagen, Alpharetta, Ga.

BEETLE MANIA: Forrest Homes worked with a local auto dealer to create the ultimate American dream, combining home sales with free, two-year car leases to sell off standing inventory.
BEETLE MANIA: Forrest Homes worked with a local auto dealer to create the ultimate American dream, combining home sales with free, two-year car leases to sell off standing inventory.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA.