Centex Homes Deals with Public Relations Fumble in Denver

Highly promoted contest awarded a new home to the winner, but it turned out there were two winners.

November 20, 2007 – Palm Coast, FLHere’s some good news for those who feel that Centex got off too lightly after pulling back from their Palm Harbor golf club and resort project. Perhaps the vicarious thrill you will experience from reading this article will help make things right.


In an effort to reignite the flagging market for new homes, Centex Homes teamed up with the Denver Newspaper Agency (DNA), owner of two Denver newspapers, to run a contest dubbed the “Centex House Party.” The contest was heavily promoted in both The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. Over 250,000 people entered.


Three finalists, selected by a drawing, were invited to the Oct. 21 Broncos game at Invesco Field at Mile High. Before the game, they stood at midfield before three doors. When Veronica Baca turned her key in one of the doors, it opened. A fireworks display signified she’d won a home worth more than $200,000. Baca was declared the winner and she and her family toured the home the next day.


But before they could close on the new home, they learned that another contestant’s key had also opened her door. Neither Centex nor DNA was aware that the other finalist’s key had worked until a few days after the contest. Contest rules required a second drawing to determine the winner. The second finalist won and Baca was told she was no longer the winner.


Initially fumbling the public relations football, Centex and DNA reportedly offered Baca a $25,000 gift certificate to a furniture store. Baca refused the offer. The story played well in the regional media, generating much support for the Bacas who filed a lawsuit against Centex and DNA.


In the end, Centex decided to give the Bacas a home too and to pay their legal expenses. “It was important to follow the letter of the rules for a fair contest. Now we’re going to honor the spirit of the contest and do what’s right for Mrs. Baca and her family,” said Bill Anner, division president for Centex Homes in Denver.


“We’re so elated Centex did the right thing,” Baca said. “Right now it’s a happy ending, and that’s all we wanted.”


On the bright side, Centex has one less home to sell.

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