Pure Michigan Summer campaign may be axed


Michigan Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Greg Main warned that the awarding-winning Pure Michigan tourism campaign may be forced to cancel all summer advertising due to lack of funding. Such a cancellation would cost Michigan tourism-related businesses hundreds of millions in lost revenue and would reduce state tax collections by millions.

“At a time when Michigan businesses are already hurting, canceling this revenue-generating campaign would be a tragedy,” Main said. “We’re grateful the Michigan House and Senate have demonstrated their support by each passing different bills to increase the Pure Michigan promotion budget, but to save the summer advertising season it is imperative they now reconcile those differences and come to an agreement prior to their two-week Easter break, beginning March 25th.”

The Pure Michigan promotion budget in 2009 was $30 million; the current appropriation for 2010 is $5.4 million, an 82% reduction and the state’s smallest tourism promotion budget since 1995.

“Our national cable TV advertising was scheduled to start March first, but had to be postponed due to the lack of adequate funding,” said George Zimmermann, vice president for Travel Michigan, a business unit of the MEDC. “Our media buyers are telling us that April is now sold out, and that May will be soon. If we are not on the air in May, we will have missed the summer travel planning season for this year.”

Travel Michigan’s 2009 Pure Michigan advertising campaign delivered a significant ROI according to a recent study conducted by Longwoods International. According to the study, the first-ever national Pure Michigan advertising campaign last spring and summer motivated 680,000 new trips to Michigan from outside the Great Lakes region. Those visitors spent $250 million at Michigan businesses last summer as a direct result of the Travel Michigan advertising program. In addition, these new out-of-state visitors paid $17.5 million in state taxes while in Michigan, yielding a $2.23 return on investment for the tourism advertising. Pure Michigan television commercials aired nationally 7,900 times on 15 cable channels in 2009, and they were seen by an estimated 60 million Americans from coast to coast.

Longwoods International assessed the impact of the 2009 Pure Michigan summer advertising on the residents of the Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Ontario, Canada markets. The regional campaign attracted 1.3 million out-of-state visitors to Michigan last summer, visitors who spent $338 million at Michigan businesses. The Pure Michigan campaign was able to improve its regional ROI from $2.86 since 2004 to $5.34 in 2009.

The total tourism promotion budget for all seasons in 2009 was $30 million, which ranked Michigan as the sixth largest state tourism promotion budget in America. The current appropriation for tourism promotion in 2010 is $5.4 million, which would reduce Michigan’s state tourism budget ranking to approximately 42nd in the nation.

Winter Pure Michigan advertising was canceled earlier in the year.