FACED WITH TIGHTENING MARKET CONDITIONS IN THE Washington, D.C., metro area, Van Metre Homes decided that the cars and diamond jewelry offered by other builders as enticements weren't quite enough to help reach its sales goals. So it upped the ante, offering a new, townhome-styled condo unit valued at $415,000 to one lucky winner.

Culling registration forms from its communities, the builder drew five finalists at monthly events during the half-year campaign, thereby encouraging prospects to visit its communities and register for the drawing multiple times to improve their chances—and the builder's conversion rate. Van Metre held a special event last February to award the prize from the 30 finalists. Labeled the “No Worries Home Giveaway” to complement the builder's overall buyer-focused philosophy, the campaign drew enough sales traffic to enable Van Metre Homes to top its record-setting 2005 sales total by one house—an impressive feat given that the effort occurred during the traditionally slower second half of the year and in a suffering market. “Traffic was really slow, even for that time of year,” recalls Krista Peterson, Van Metre's design center manager. “We looked at other giveaways, but this one tied to what we do and took our ‘No Worries' theme to a new level.”

The builder leveraged a multipoint media campaign, including Redskins Radio, a local station for the area's NFL team, to drive awareness of the giveaway and its communities. Redskin cheerleaders attended each monthly event and the final drawing, where former player Joe Jacoby plucked the winner's name, who ended up applying the value to another, higher-priced Van Metre home.

CAMPAIGN DETAILS Program: No Worries Home Giveaway; Builder: Van Metre Homes, Ashburn, Va.; Cost: $415,000, the value of the home; Advertising agency: Fraser Wallace Advertising, Dulles, Va.

TOP PRIZE: Using a multi-faceted advertising campaign to drive interest in its “No  Worries” home giveaway, Van Metre Homes was able to top its sales  record from the previous year in an otherwise down market.
TOP PRIZE: Using a multi-faceted advertising campaign to drive interest in its “No Worries” home giveaway, Van Metre Homes was able to top its sales record from the previous year in an otherwise down market.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.