DEVELOPER DOUG COLLISTER'S FAMILY HAS LIVED IN THE Albuquerque, N.M., area for three generations, and even he didn't know anything about a high desert area west of the city. The relatively untouched landscape that his company, High Desert Investment Corp., is now leveraging into a 6,500-acre master plan is called Mariposa. “I'm pretty sure no one else [knew of it], either,” he says.

To combat the lack of awareness about the project's location and build some presales momentum for the first phase of the project launched in July 2005, High Desert teamed with a local ad agency to create a print, outdoor, Web, and television campaign. The campaign exposes potential home buyers to the parcel's stunning natural features and reminds them of childhood dreams about their ideal home. “We needed a way to bring people out to the location,” says Steve McKee, a partner with McKee Wallwork Cleveland, the agency charged with the challenge. “Once they did, the land would sell the project.”

Commissioning an award-winning landscape photographer to capture Mariposa's hill-and-prairie scenes, the creative team also gathered a group of children to draw pictures of their dreams and combined the photos and drawings to create the print side of the campaign. The TV ad, meanwhile, recounts a young girl's dream house and setting as her adult self drives out to a Mariposa home-site. Billboards complement the landscape photography with simple messages such as “Find yourself here” and “Wake up to this” to inspire the imagination—and sales traffic. “We not only wanted them to see Mariposa [in the photography], but also see themselves in Mariposa,” says McKee.

RIGHT PATH: Combining sketches from children with professional landscape photography captured  both the imagination of potential buyers and the natural beauty of the  project.
RIGHT PATH: Combining sketches from children with professional landscape photography captured both the imagination of potential buyers and the natural beauty of the project.

So far, results have exceeded expectations: The first phase of 61 production-home lots sold out, and the next phase was released nine months ahead of schedule. The TVads, especially, have spiked traffic on the Mariposa Web site and prompted water cooler talk among residents and local builders.

CAMPAIGN DETAILS Program: Comprehensive awareness campaign for Mariposa, Rio Rancho, N.M.; Developer: High Desert Investment Corp., Rio Rancho; Advertising agency: McKee Wallwork Cleveland, Albuquerque (See the television ad at www.mckeewallworkcleveland.com/; scroll Portfolio: Television: Mariposa)