If you've ever considered—or actually bought—a pair of shoes a size too small because the price was right, you understand what three divisions for Newport Beach, Calif.–based John Laing Homes were trying to counteract when they put their heads and budgets together to combat six-figure discounts being offered by their competitors. The Perfect Fit Living campaign, unveiled in March by the company's three Northern California divisions, promotes the message that the best house is the one that fits lifestyle needs instead of a fire-sale price point. “Other builders had straight retail-type ads offering rock-bottom pricing with ‘buy now or miss out' messages,” says Mark Levens, vice president of sales and marketing for Laing Homes' Sacramento division. “We wanted to get back to selling value.”

With a track record of high customer satisfaction ratings and a wide range of housing at price points from the $250s to $2 million among them, the three divisions were able to hone their message and build a brand for a customized approach to building and selling homes. “We want to know if a buyer even likes the house first, before we talk about enhancements,” says Levens. The new campaign, launched primarily via print ads and billboards, drove prospects to a Web site (www.perfectfitliving.com), which then offered links to Laing Homes communities that matched the buyer's basic parameters for location, home size, style, and price. The concept is being considered for corporate-wide use.

OFF THE CUFF: John Laing Homes poked fun at competitors offering deep sales discounts by  sending the message that a home that suits a family's lifestyle—not simply  one sold at a bargain-basement price—is actually a better value.
OFF THE CUFF: John Laing Homes poked fun at competitors offering deep sales discounts by sending the message that a home that suits a family's lifestyle—not simply one sold at a bargain-basement price—is actually a better value.

CAMPAIGN DETAILS Program: Perfect Fit Living campaign; Builder: John Laing Homes' Northern California divisions (Bay Area, Central Valley, and Sacramento); Advertising agency: EMC Creative, Danville, Calif.; Cost: $1.2 million (six months)

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.