It’s hard enough for a small builder to scrounge up a decent construction budget in the current economy, let alone extra cash to promote new properties.  If your marketing program consists of little more than a guy on the corner twirling a sign, don’t fret. The folks at Roddan Paolucci Roddan might be able to hook you up. 

In an act that is perhaps equal parts goodwill, self-preservation, and private stimulus, the multimillion dollar marketing communications firm, which has long been involved in real estate campaigns, is placing 20 years’ worth of unused creative ideas up for grabs--available to interested builders on a first-come, first-served basis.

Goodies in the agency’s “Creative Assets Vault” include ad concepts, Web strategies, naming solutions, logo studies, PR campaigns, outdoor signage, and other marketing platforms that were never executed. That includes a substantial trove of work originally intended for clients such as The Irvine Company, John Laing Homes, Lowe Development, The Kor Group, and Centex Homes.

Think of it as creative recycling, says RPR creative director Christopher Salling, whose firm is headquartered in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. Not all ideas get shelved because they are bad ideas. Sometimes the pro forma changes, or politics interject, leaving a good campaign concept to collect dust. “Our thinking is that we’d rather have the work going out for free than just sitting in a closet somewhere on the boards,” Salling says. “We are hoping to give back to an industry that has a helped us over the years by donating these unused assets.”

Donating? As in freebies? Well, yes and no. The archival campaigns in the vault are technically giveaways, but the agency qualifies that most are not plug-and-play. The expectation, rather, is that old concepts may be tweaked for a small fee to fit the needs of new clients who adopt them. Tailoring an existing concept or campaign is still considerably less expensive than creating a new one from scratch, Sallings points out. And in many cases, the original messaging strategies can be modified to include more cutting-edge, cost-effective vehicles such as Web-based PR and social media.

At any rate, an initial call to the agency and a search of its archives costs nothing. According to agency spokesman Bryan DeSena, half a dozen builders have inquired about the offerings so far, which include concepts for coastal, urban, luxury, multifamily, suburban, and rural real estate properties.

Sallings sees it as a good opportunity for small- to medium-sized builders who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a big marketing campaign or branding study. “We want those with smaller profit margins to have access to good work while saving their budgets for actual building costs,” he says. “We want to find people who are trying to make a difference in this economy, but who might not have the budget that traditionally would have been there.” 

Sounds like a bargain.

Jenny Sullivan is a senior editor covering architecture and design for BUILDER.