The Nationals, Part I Nothing Missing Here Summergrove, Newnan, Ga.

Best black and white ad--master plan

When a builder wants to emphasize its on-site amenities, the typical approach is to use images of people who look like the customer. For SummerGrove, Pathway Communities opted to turn that around and take the people out of the picture completely. Three ads featured golf, tennis, and the community's lake (all shot on site), with the models digitally removed.

The goal of the ads was to convince buyers to travel a little out of the way to a community located out of the main corridors in the Atlanta market, which is saturated with master planned communities. With the campaign tagline of "All that's missing is you," the ads dramatically told prospects that SummerGrove had everything a neighborhood needs--but that it wasn't complete without them.

"The goal for the ad was to cause people to imagine themselves in that environment," says Joe Snowden, president of McRae Communications, which created the ads. "It really resonated that."

The ad campaign carried over in the sales center with adult- and child-sized cardboard cut-outs in which visitors could be photographed. That element of the campaign generated media coverage in community newspapers.

The technological challenges of the campaign centered on recreating the portions of the photographs that were originally hidden behind the models' bodies, such as the backs of their collars and hats and the neck straps of sunglasses.

"If it weren't really well executed, it would look really cheesy," Snowden says. "The laughing stock potential was pretty high."

Builder: Pathway Communities, Peachtree City, Ga.; Ad agency: McRae Communications, Fayetteville, Ga.

Attention Earthlings! Observatory Village, Fort Collins, Colo.

Best color ad--master plan

When a community has as cool an amenity as an observatory, it makes all the sense in the world to market it in a visually striking way.

"This is such a unique thing, no one can repeat it," says Jennifer Lambert, marketing director for Village Homes of Colorado. Designed to appeal to a "thrill-seeking prospect," the campaign makes use of classic film poster imagery, monochromatic backgrounds, and copy that harkens back to the movie trailers of the 1950s.

"It stands out compared with standard new-home ads," Lambert says. "It pushes the envelope in the advertising realm."

Courtesy Village Homes of Colorado

A follow-up to teaser ads before the community opened, this series promoted the amenities that Villages Homes had promised would be part of Observatory Village.

"There was a lot of name recognition to the community before the ad ran," Lambert says. "This solidified what we were saying all along, that we would stand firm to have those things in the community sooner rather than later."

Builder: Village Homes of Colorado, Littleton, Colo.; Ad agency: Lance Jackson & Associates, Denver

Small Space, Big Feel Sea House at Water's End, Calsbad, Calif.

Best sales office--under 600 square feet

Small sales centers all face the same challenge--making the space usable without feeling cramped. It's even more important in a neighborhood a stone's throw from the ocean. The last thing people want is to feel boxed in.

"When people feel crowded, they want to get out of there," says Mary Fitzgerald, marketing manager for John Laing Homes' South Coast division.

To help reduce the clutter and open up floor space that would make the room feel more spacious, the site plan was taken off the floor and put on the wall. It's a tool that John Laing uses in its sales centers whenever possible to make it easier to walk around. The center of the office has bifold doors so that it can be easily accessed by home counselors in closing offices on either side.

Courtesy John Laing Homes

"It's a real space saver, and it was instrumental in this sales office because of the size," Fitzgerald says.

Vintage oars, fishing poles, and tropical items hang on the walls to give the office a unique, "beachy" feel. Bamboo-framed floor plans are displayed on leather cording. The use of corrugated metal on the walls and the front desk added a "little bit of neat, rustic charm," Fitzgerald says.

"It gave it some character and made it feel like it had been there for a while," she says.

Builder: John Laing Homes, Irvine, Calif.; Architect: Dahlin Group, San Ramon, Calif.; Interior design: Design Tech, Newport Beach, Calif.; Sales office design: Austin Johnson Design, Rancho Santa Marguerita, Calif.

Retail Attitude The Homefinding Center, Irvine, Calif.

Best sales pavilion or information center (tie)

The goals of the Irvine Community Development Co. in creating the Homefinding Center were myriad. First was to get the center out of an outdated modular building and into a more upscale, convenient location. Second was to provide a "Nordstrom-style" service experience that created a high comfort level for visitors. Third, of course, was to provide a high level of information about the multiple communities the company owns.

The end product was the Homefinding Center, a 2,022-square-foot information pavilion located in Irvine Spectrum, a popular shopping and entertainment complex convenient to several major highways. Traffic at the center averages in excess of 300 visitors per week.

The pavilion's layout and features virtually force visitors to interact with the center's staff, says sales center designer John Burrows.

Courtesy Irvine Community Development Co.

"The whole thing was set up so people almost have to talk to the hostesses," he says. "The Irvine Co. had it [mystery] shopped over a number of years, and the comment that came back a number of times was that [customers most liked] the service. She [the hostess] hands you a tour guide of houses in your price range."

The center fits in well with the other retail stores in the complex, with oversized travel center-inspired posters and boutique-style entry doors. Forgoing the standard topographical model, it features a 12-foot-by-6-foot lighted aerial map mounted on the wall. Flat-screen computers give visitors access to DVDs on a host of topics, and another display table features computers with more in-depth information on builders and neighborhoods.

"I'm glad they did upscale," Burrows says. "I'm tired of doing ranch-like, homey centers. They wanted it to be more retail and contemporary."

Builder: Irvine Community Development Co., Newport Beach, Calif.; Architect: Robinson Hill Associates, Costa Mesa, Calif.; Interior design: Burrows Design, Corona del Mar, Calif.; Sales office design: LJG Partners/TAG Displays/Outdoor Dimensions, San Diego

Gold Winners Not Pictured
Rookie Sales Person of the Year Brett Grantham, D.R. Horton, Portland, Ore.

Sales Person of the Year Kelly R. Lucent, Ryland Homes, Eden Prairie, Minn.

Sales Manager of the Year Dave Harding, Western Pacific Housing, Los Angeles

Marketing Director of the Year Robert Adams, Park Square Homes, Orlando, Fla.

Sales and Marketing Council of the Year--350 Members and Over Triangle Sales & Marketing Council, Raleigh, N.C.

Sales and Marketing Council of the Year--350 Members and Under Sales and Marketing Council of HBA Portage and Summit Counties, Akron, Ohio

Best Community Brochure--Under $250,000 Project: C.P. Morgan Quality Brochure, Indianapolis

Builder: C.P. Morgan, Indianapolis

Ad agency: Milesbrand, Denver

Best Community Brochure--Over $500,000 Project: Calistoga Ranch Themebook, Calistoga, Calif.

Builder: Criswell Radovan, Calistoga

Ad agency: InterCommunications, Newport Beach, Calif.

Best Electronic Media Project: Westridge Custom Home Manual, Valencia, Calif.

Builder: Newhall Land Co., Valencia

Ad agency: The Weston Group, Los Angeles

Best Broker Promotion Project: Pizza promotion for Beazer Homes

Builder: Beazer Homes Orlando division, Orlando, Fla.

Ad agency: Metropolis Advertising and Design, Orlando

Best Black and White Ad--Single Project Project: Centennial Park West, Atlanta

Builder: Legacy Property Group, Atlanta

Ad agency: Marketing Results, Atlanta

Best Black and White Ad--Corporate or Combo Builder: Oakwood Homes, Denver

Ad agency: Milesbrand, Denver

Best Color Ad--Corporate or Combo Builder: Davidson Communities, Chula Vista, Calif.

Ad agency: Martin Stevers, San Diego

Best Radio Commercial Project: The Pinehills, Plymouth, Mass.

Developer: The Pinehills LLC, Plymouth

Ad agency: Strada Advertising, Denver

Best Television Commercial Builder: Standard Pacific Homes, Irvine, Calif.

Ad agency: Gauger + Santy, San Francisco

Best Special Promotion Project: Prima Notte at La Scala, Naples, Fla.

Builder: WCI Communities, Bonita Springs, Fla.

Ad agency: WCI Communities, Bonita Springs

Best Marketing Program by an Associate/Supplier Project: Gauger + Santy Marketing Campaign, Gauger + Santy, San Francisco

Best Web Site for a Builder Project:, Seal Beach, Calif.

Builder: The Olson Co., Seal Beach

Ad agency: Hayes Martin Associates, Newport Beach, Calif.

Best Web Site for a Community Project:, San Diego

Builder: Western Pacific Housing, El Segundo, Calif.

Web site design: The Weston Group, Los Angeles

Best Web Site for an Associate Project:

Web site design: The Roxburgh Agency, Costa Mesa, Calif.

Best Sales Pavilion or Information Center (tie) Project: Trilogy at Redmond Ridge, Redmond, Wash.

Builder: Shea Homes, Walnut, Calif.

Architect: Williams + Paddon, Roseville, Calif.

Interior design/Sales office design: Design Lines, Englewood, Colo.

Best Design Center Project: T.W. Lewis Design Center, Tempe, Ariz.

Builder: Linthicum Constructors, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Architect: John Mahoney, Tempe

Interior design: McCarthy Nordburg, Phoenix

Best Interior Merchandising of a Model Priced Under $250,000 Project: The Boulders at Sonoma Ranch--Plan 3, Las Cruces, N.M.

Builder: The Boulders at Sonoma Ranch LLC, Las Cruces

Interior design: Possibilities for Design, Denver

Best Interior Merchandising of a Model Priced From $250,000 to $400,000 Project: Liquid Sugar--Liquid 2, Emeryville, Calif.

Builder: Pulte Homes, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Interior design: Taylor Roberts, Philo, Calif.

Best Interior Merchandising of a Model Priced From $400,000 to $650,000 Project: Benchley Hill--Plan 2, Fullerton Calif.

Builder: Pardee Homes, Los Angeles

Interior design: Color Design Art, Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Best Interior Merchandising of a Model Priced From $650,000 to $1 Million Project: The Oaks, Boca Raton, Fla.

Builder: Albanese/Popkin, The Oaks Development Group, Boca Raton

Interior design: Rogers Design Group, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Best Interior Merchandising of a Model Priced Over $1 Million (tie) Project: Chateau Samara, Newport Coast, Calif.

Builder: Warmington Homes, Costa Mesa, Calif.

Interior design: Karen Butera Inc., Corona Del Mar, Calif.

Best Single-Family Detached Home Priced Under $250,000 Project: The Boulders at Sonoma Ranch--Plan 3, Las Cruces, N.M.

Builder: The Boulders at Sonoma Ranch LLC, Las Cruces

Architect: Iverson Associates, Costa Mesa, Calif.

Best Single-Family Detached Home Priced From $250,000 to $400,000 Project: Surrey Farm--Plan 3, Ladera Ranch, Calif.

Builder: Baywood Development/Barratt American, Carlsbad, Calif.

Architect: Scheurer Architects, Newport Beach, Calif.

Best Single-Family Detached Home Priced From $650,000 to $1 Million Project: Los Santeros--Plan A, Santa Fe, N.M.

Builder/Architect: ASW Realty Partners, Santa Fe

Best Single-Family Detached Home Priced Over $1 Million Project: Whitehorse--Estate 1, San Diego

Builder: Barratt American, Carlsbad, Calif.

Architect: Starck Architecture, San Diego

Best Attached Home Plan Priced Under $350,000 Project: Charleston Place--Plan 4, Ladera Ranch, Calif.

Builder: Warmington Homes, Costa Mesa, Calif.

Architect: Daniellian Associates, Irvine, Calif.

Best Attached Home Plan Priced Over $350,000 (tie) Project: La Scala at the Colony Golf and Bay Club, Tower Residence 04, Bonita Springs, Fla.

Builder: WCI Communities, Bonita Springs

Architect: Swedroe & Associates, Miami

Best Custom or Spec Home Project: The Enclave, Lot 4, Las Vegas

Builder: Christopher Homes, Las Vegas

Architect: Scheurer Architects, Newport Beach, Calif.

Urban Attached Community of the Year Project: Metropolis, Atlanta

Builder: Wood Partners/The Novare Group, Atlanta

Architect: Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart, Atlanta

Interior design: Model Residences, Atlanta

Sales center design: P3, Atlanta

Landscape design: Highgrove Partners, Smyrna, Ga.

Ad agency: Marketing Results, Atlanta

The Judges The Nationals were judged by a 10-member panel of builders, marketing executives, merchandising professionals, and housing experts. The 2004 judges were:

Wilson Angel, 5th Gear Advertising, Culver City, Calif.
Denise Dersin, BUILDER magazine, Washington
Tom Doucette, Doucette Homes, Tucson, Ariz.
George Freelove, MIRM, Richard Fuller Homes, Katy, Texas
Dan Green, The Green Cos., Newton Centre, Mass.
Kay Green, MIRM, Kay Green Design, Orlando, Fla.
Phil Hove, Hove Design Alliance, Newport Beach, Calif.
Rudy Kadlub, Costa Pacific Homes, Wilsonville, Ore.
Laura Lynn Reising, Petros Homes, Broadview Heights, Ohio
David Steinke, Infinity Homes, Greenwood Village, Colo.

The Nationals, Part I

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Denver, CO, San Diego, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Phoenix, AZ, Atlanta, GA, Orlando, FL.