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Community Distinction: Marketing the Mission Viejo Miracle

The Mission Viejo Company initiated a highly innovative, aggressive marketing campaign that was brilliant in its conception and bold in its implementation. It was designed to put Mission Viejo on the map and to convince prospective home-buyers, corporations and businesses that they should come to Camelot., as Mission Viejo was described in the press. It also created a sense of pride for those who were already sold on the Mission Viejo way and had already bought into the California Promise.

The multi-media advertising took many forms and was always top-notch: magazines, newspapers, television, radio, billboards, license plate frames, and bumper stickers. The Company worked hard to achieve nationwide name-recognition by arranging for Governor Reagan and President Ford to make ceremonial visits to Mission Viejo, by convincing the PGA to have its televised Southern California Golf Tournament at the Mission Viejo County Club, by persuading the Virginia Slims Tennis Tour to include Mission Viejo on its regular circuit, and by getting the ABC television network to produce the Challenge of the Sexes program in Mission Viejo. The Company garnered international attention through its Nadadores Swim Team, its regular entries in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, and the 1984 Olympic Cycling Road Race.

Mission Viejo was touted as being a new town for new families, with quality homes at affordable prices. The major emphasis of all advertising was that Mission Viejo is a family-oriented community for active lifestyles of all ages: a positive town for positive people, an active town for active people. The concept: Mission Viejo has affordable, quality homes for young families whose children can grow up and afford to continue to live in the same community as their parents.

Mission Viejo Company always did extensive market research and built to suit the identified needs of the prospective buyers. The idea was to offer new housing at reasonable prices that young families and first-time buyers could afford and where families can move up to more expensive housing without ever moving away from their community and friends. Their advertisements were far and away the most effective sales promotion ever devised by a home developer and were so successful that people camped for days just for the opportunity to be in a lottery to purchase a home.

Mission Viejo had the greatest slogans. But they were more than slogans. They were statements of fact.

These slogans aptly described a streetscape so enchanting and idyllic and a landscape so surrounded by beautiful amenities that they make people feel good whenever they step out the door. The advertising proclaimed, The California Promise is a family-oriented community in a state of happiness. Between the lines, one reads, With room to live, and room to grow.

Some examples:

Mission Viejo: A World-class Community

Mission Viejo: Where Home is a Home Town Again

The California Promise: Live It in Mission Viejo

There’s a place where everything you like about California is everywhere you look

It’s So Nice to Have Mission Viejo Around the House

Mission Viejo: Cradle of the good life in south Orange County

Mission Viejo: a complete hometown where you can buy or build

Mission Viejo: where you’ll find everything under the sun built right into the landscape

Mission Viejo: from moderate income housing to exclusive gated communities, from active senior retirement to carefree town homes and condos, from young family neighborhoods to the rewards of lakeside living

Mission Viejo: an environment both physical and spiritual that it makes people feel good whenever they step out the door

--written by Robert Breton, former Mayor of Mission Viejo

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