Torch Bearers: The 2001 National Sales and Marketing Awards By R.E. Blake Evans

Best Community Web Site

"The look and tone of the Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe Web site is designed to mirror all our print ad campaigns," notes Bob Jackson, marketing director for local builder HCC. "But we made sure the site sold the romance of the community and its intrigue while also serving the shopper with detailed product offerings."

Part of the romance that HCC used for its 340-acre community was including copy that teases the reader by questioning whether the images are of Southern California or Tuscany. Popular in the late '90s, the Italian village styles made famous by Roman wine country are still popular with many move-up buyers and luxury community builders.

To appeal to luxury buyers, the community Web site had to present the product lines and the golf community exquisitely. "The site is technically simple, not ostentatious," says Jackson. "It's elegant, emotional, yet very practical and easy to navigate."

The Web site for Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe sells million-dollar luxury with Italian inspiration. The soft sell approach teases visitors with the question, "Are we in Sienna?" Operatic arias play in the background, introducing the San Diego community. [Photo: Courtesy Smith Junger Wellman]

At Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe, homes and lots sell from $760,000 to $4 million. HCC sold 65 percent of its lots and 50 percent of its golf memberships in fewer than 18 months.

Project: Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; Builder: HCC, Rancho Santa Fe; Ad agency/Web designer: Smith Junger Wellman, Venice, Calif.; Web

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