Our agency is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a “one of a kind city where creative living means ‘The Good Life’” – boasts the tourism board responsible for the nationally acclaimed Pure Michigan campaign. I’ve been both impressed by the success of the campaign and proud of the attention that the TV, radio and internet presence has brought to my state. I enjoy seeing my friends from Chicago and Ohio announcing excitedly on Facebook, “Spending the weekend enjoying Pure Michigan!” when they visit.
I thought I’d take a moment to pay homage to the brilliant campaign that has brought so much attention to all the cities worth visiting in “the mitten.” If you’re from Michigan, hopefully you draw some satisfaction from it as well, and if you’re not… well hey, at least you can appreciate what a prime example Pure Michigan is of what branding can do.
In 2009, a $30 million budget enabled the Pure Michigan message to be broadcast nationally for the first time since its 2006 inception. The campaign highlighting Michigan’s assets was narrated by our own Tim Allen, and brought 680,000 trips to the state with visitors spending $250 million at Michigan businesses and providing $17.5 million in state taxes. The campaign’s commercials have been viewed by an estimated 60 million Americans. And those who choose to flock to the Great Lakes State are greeted by signs and billboards welcoming them to Pure Michigan.
Since we like to talk so much about the importance of social engagement (or social media) and how vital it can be to particular markets and organizations, I want to point out that in October 2010, Michigan ranked #1 for the sixth consecutive time in Gammet Interactive’s study on ‘How Social is Your State?’ With Michigan boasting the most visitors of any state website (www.michigan.org), the active engagement on social sites such as Facebook and Twitter is no doubt partially to thank for the traffic.
Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, Pure Michigan, like many businesses, is having to face the reality that it may miss its chance to promote the winter season Michigan has to offer (which I have a love-hate relationship with…) and its activities such as ice fishing, skiing, and snowmobiling.
Seasonal gripes aside, as a marketer and Michigan native, I’d hate to see budget cuts set back the momentum the Pure Michigan campaign has gained. I love hearing Tim’s voice on the radio reminding me of what a great place I get to call home, and without the campaign my friend’s Facebook statuses would certainly be far less witty when broadcasting their weekend visits… For that reason, and for the good of the state’s reputation, here’s hoping for the continued success of the campaign and here’s to Pure Michigan.