Creative Challenge Giving away a home to promote a builder or a new community isn't new; Neumann Homes had previous success giving away a newly built home. But the challenge was how to get more promotional value out of its next contest and how to better reach the builder's target market.

Inspiration Neumann's marketing team decided the best solution would be to partner with local light-rock radio station WLIT 93.9 FM, one of the top Chicago radio stations among female suburban listeners between the ages of 25 and 54. The builder provided the contest prize and print advertising, and the radio station provided free on-air cross-promotional advertising and on-air coverage. But to give added drama to the promotion, the event finale was also moved to the 2004 Chicago Auto Show, the city's largest annual consumer trade show that promised added visibility for Neumann Homes and access to TV crews covering the auto show.

Execution The radio partner provided promotions valued at $426,000. This included 336 60-second radio spots promoting the giveaway, inclusion in weekly emails to the station's 41,000 loyal listeners, a monthlong phone-in contest for selecting finalists, $1,000 cash awards to each finalist, and several additional live segments promoting the contest. The event finale was also broadcast live on WLIT.

Neumann Homes supported this effort by advertising the giveaway in a four-page, color newspaper insert ad that reached 500,000 households; a direct-mail piece to 8,000 prospects; and a polybag wrap of a Saturday Chicago Tribune newspaper. Neumann also provided a 1,670-square-foot, three-bedroom home valued at $192,000 as the grand prize. In addition, the event drew live coverage on one TV morning show, and a second TV station filmed the event finale to be broadcast later.

Results About 1,800 people registered for the contest at Neumann Homes' sales centers and about 952 people registered at Neumann Homes' booth at the 2004 Chicago Auto Show, which is where the three finalists were selected. The promotion contributed to Neumann surpassing overall January sales goals in Chicago and southern Wisconsin by 82.7 percent and the January traffic goal by 87 percent.

Big Show: Neumann Homes used Chicago's auto show to give away a $192,000 home. Pictured (left to right): Melissa Foreman, WLIT; winner Terri Kurzrock; Neumann Homes president and CEO, Ken Neumann; and chief marketing officer Jean Neumann.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Chicago, IL.