Creative Challenge Attracting prospective home buyers to consider the notion of downtown living in San Diego. Urban living was not yet a hot topic. CityMark Development had to get people excited about living in an area that hadn't been the focus of developers for decades.

Inspiration CityMark Development wanted its urban loft living to stand apart from traditional marketing campaigns. Working with Roni Hicks & Associates, a San Diego-based marketing firm, they determined a catchy name was the answer. They made up the name Doma, which doesn't mean anything, but evoked Italian imagery with many people. Most projects in the area were choosing “safe” names: park terrace, park place, or park land, for example. CityMark wanted to think outside of the box and admits the company had a lot of fun naming the project.

MAIL CALL: Award-winning brochures were part of the marketing campaign for Doma, an urban loft development in San Diego, Calif., which was completely pre-sold. Execution The focus of the 18-month Doma campaign, which opened in the summer of 2001, was to get people excited about downtown living. Teaser ads were placed in the local newspaper, the Union-Tribune. The ads showed images of loft living with hip concepts such as flowing space and wrapping walls. The floor plans reflected that there is more flexibility in a loft so owners could personalize their space.

They put up signage, developed award-winning brochures, and located a sales center for Doma near the project. In designing the sales center, it was important that it be sleek and hip, the same image CityMark tried to convey in its loft units.

To get potential home buyers to come see Doma, City-Mark and Roni Hicks & Associates mailed invitations to the grand opening party. They weren't just regular invitations. In keeping with the fresh and hip idea, and to increase excitement about the community's grand opening, the invitations were heavy, 3-inch-by-6-inch metal placards reading “You're invited to a party.” The reaction was positive. People admitted that they didn't want to throw the invitations out. The grand opening was at the sales center, within walking distance of Doma.

Results The project was completely pre-sold, and in just 60 days, CityMark closed 121 one- and two-bedroom units at an average price in the mid-$400,000s.