That’s a wrap

Lennar Corporation has a new marketing vehicle for its condo communities in Southern California. The for-sale housing road in the southern part of the Golden State may be a bit bumpy right now, but it's long and winding for this latest marketing trick.

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Printed in full color on vinyl and adhered to the entire bus, a full bus wrap is a message on the move that attracts attention. As buses slowly cruise city streets, messages are viewed by pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Demographic markets are available by selecting specific routes. With enough coverage and careful planning, buses can be used to reach a general market audience very effectively.

Lennar Corporation has a new marketing vehicle for its condo communities in Southern California. The for-sale housing road in the southern part of the Golden State may be a bit bumpy right now, but, thanks to Lennar, a bus-wrap advertising campaign utilizing Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) buses provides a 360 degree glimpse into two of Orange County’s master-planned communities– Villages of Columbus, which straddles the cities of Tustin and Irvine, and Central Park West in Irvine.

Bus wraps are giant crack and peel decals that have been printed on 3M material slightly thicker than a credit card, output in 52-inch- wide strips, then carefully applied on all four sides of a 40-foot bus, according to Glen Deltondo at Applications Unlimited International, Inc., a Laguna Hills, Calif., company that specializes in the process. The backs of the decals are coated with a strong adhesive that will endure the harsh Southern California sun and the nightly run through the bus wash. This painstaking application process requires a good eye and great Exacto knife skills and normally takes 24 to 30 man hours to complete. The most time consuming part of adhering the huge stickers to the bus is the cutting around doors, ventilation ducts and windows.

When the process is complete and the bus is rolling down the road, one bus wrap can generate between 30,000 and 70,000 impressions a day, recent studies indicate. “They are a great way to get the word out about our projects and maintain a visible presence in a community that has become increasingly dependent on public transportation,” said Jann Rowe, Vice President of Marketing for Lennar’s Orange County land division, who believes the Miami-based home builder is the first in the Southland to fully wrap two buses.

Both bus wraps were designed by Irvine-based James Klein + Associates, designer of more than 50 bus wrap advertisements since 1993, in collaboration with Weston/Mason Marketing and MC Squared.

“What’s remarkable about these bus wraps is the fact that a builder of Lennar’s stature has become more alert about public transportation,” said James Klein, principal of Klein + Associates.”Wrapping buses is a not so subtle way of saying they support public transit.” Rowe believes that’s an important message to communicate in the face of rising gas prices and increased concerns about traffic congestion, air quality and the environment.

“With bus wrap advertising, the client gets to choose the routes his ads will travel,” said Klein. Lennar chose paths that traverse its planned communities. The company’s traveling billboards roll along Route 57, which runs from the Brea Fashion Mall in Brea to the Fashion Island Mall in Newport Beach, and serve an average ridership of 17,890 passengers per weekday and 21,031 passengers on the weekend.

But the ultimate goal of both campaigns is to drive people to the community Websites.

Not a bad idea, since research suggests that 75 percent of today’s homebuyers start their search on the Internet and 80 percent use the Internet in their search.

The Villages of Columbus, which includes both attached and single- family residences in two distinctive villages–Columbus Grove and Columbus Square–is located on sections of the former Tustin Marine Corps Air Station with easy access to the 405, 55 and 5 Freeways.

Central Park West, which is located right off the 405 Freeway in Irvine on a former commercial business park that once served as the headquarters for aerospace giant Parker Hannifin, has been touted as the largest mixed-use, pedestrian friendly urban village in the city’s new commercial redevelopment core.

At build-out, the 42-acre development would include 1,318 urban-style residences, 90,000 sq. ft. of office space, an amphitheater and a private clubhouse with a swimming pool, and a commercial parking structure. The 240-unit Astoria, a two-tower condo high-rise Lennar is building in partnership with Intergulf Development Group, is underway on the site.