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Pure Michigan, Pure Gold?

July 8, 2009 - Steve Murch
Last week, Forbes named the Pure Michigan ad campaign as one of the all-time best tourism campaigns. The magazine named it the sixth best. That's pretty good, especially when you consider the campaign has been going for only a few months. To make that kind of an impact in a short time shows how strong the message is (links to the Travel Michigan site, and the Alpena radio ad are at the right).

By now you should have either seen the TV spots or heard the radio spots. Alpena is highlighted in one that has been playing in the Grand Rapids and Toledo areas. Michigan native Tim Allen is the voice for all the ads.

“The showcasing of Michigan’s vast beauty, from our world-class beaches to top-ranked golf courses, creates local business activity and jobs for our workers,” Governor Jennifer M. Granholm state in a press releas last week.  “This campaign is helping travelers choose Michigan while diversifying and growing our economy.”

I hope she's right because Michigan can certainly use an economic shot in the arm. This past weekend there seemed to be quite a few out-of-towners, but the Fourth of July is also one big homecoming in the Alpena area. There might not have been a great number of tourists, but then again they might have been people come back for a visit - tourists in the pure sense of the word, but not likely to do as many tourist-type things.

According to the state, for every dollar spent on out-of-state advertising from 2004-08, there was more than $40 received at Michigan businesses and generated $2.86 in new state tax collections. Simple math illustrates that if the state spent $1 million then Michigan businesses would receive $40 million and there would be $2.86 million in tax collections. If that holds true for this campaign, then it should be a success.   “This campaign sells with its simple and universal message:  that sometimes we all need to get away from life’s stresses and relax a bit,” Forbes said. The judges who ranked the campaigns were Peter Greenberg, travel journalist; Rudy Maxa, contributing editor with National Geographic Traveler magazine; and Tom Parsons, publisher of   The top 10 are. 10. Virginia is for Lovers 9. Oregon's 150 Challenge 8. Canada: Locals Know 7. Alaska B4UDIE 6. Pure Michigan 5. Jamaica: Once you go, you know 4. Australia's Paul Hogan spots 3. New Zealand 100% Pure 2. Incredible India 1 .Las Vegas: What Happens Here Stays Here

Take a good look at the list. Only Las Vegas is the only U.S. campaign ahead of the Michigan spots, and the four directly ahead of it are for countries. Pretty good company.


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