Oakwood Feels At Home With Trone Advertising

Oakwood Homes Corp., the top retailer of manufactured houses, named Trone Advertising in Greensboro, N.C., its first agency of record.
The client will devote $14 million toward a TV-heavy national campaign, said Jim Steinmeyer, Oakwood senior vice president of marketing and product management.
Located just two miles from Trone’s offices, Oakwood last year asked the agency to serve as a consultant. The growing company wanted to know how to brand its pre-assembled houses, ranging in price from $17,900 to $100,000.
Trone spent four months conducting a positioning study comprising quantitative and qualitative research. “We learned everything there was to learn about the industry,” said agency chairman Lee Trone.
One of the facts the shop gleaned was “who our buyers really are,” Steinmeyer said. Trone suggested targeting buyers according to the price point of individual homes.
Trone created several retail-focused commercials now running on cable television, and is developing an image campaign to break later this year.
Although Oakwood is the nation’s largest seller of manufactured housing per Investor’s Daily, it trails Fleetwood Enterprises and Champion Enterprises in production. Pending its purchase of Schult Homes Corp., Oakwood will increase its market share from 7.5 to 9 percent, Steinmeyer said. The acquisition will help fill Oakwood’s market voids in the Northeast and Midwest, which may tempt the client to advertise on network television.
The Oakwood Homes account represents further variety on the agency’s client roster. “There was a time when we were very dependent on one account and one industry,” Trone said, alluding to past work for R.J. Reynolds’ Camel cigarettes. “What we have been trying to do for a long time is diversify.”