pure michigan

Update: 11/4/14

You probably know Rob Bliss, even if the name doesn’t ring a bell.

He’s the guy behind the Grand Rapids lip-dub video, the Pure Michigan sing-along ad, and now, the street harassment video that’s racked up 16 million views on YouTube.

In case you still haven’t seen it, the two minute video follows a young women in jeans and a t-shirt walking through New York. Bliss says they spent 10 hours filming with a hidden GoPro as the actress, Shoshana B. Roberts, endured more than 100 instances of street harassment, including stalking.

User: Jim Sorbie / Flickr

Kids are back in school. Cider mills are opening. And, like it or not, the days are getting shorter.

Must be time to swap out the summer fun Pure Michigan advertisements for fall.

Emily Lawler of MLive said that these commercials will be run in places such as southern Ontaio, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, as well as different parts of Michigan.

According to Lawler, more than $1 million is spent on Pure Michigan campaigns, and some of the fund comes from private sector partners such as Coca Cola and golf associations.

“According to Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s most recent study, for every dollar we spend on Pure Michigan advertising, there’s about $6.66 that comes back returning to our economy,” Lawler added.

*Listen to our interview with Emily Lawler above.

Pothole in a road.
Wikimedia Commons

The living conditions in Michigan are crumbling and the residents aren't happy about it.

That's according to a report by the Michigan Economic Center, called The Michigan Dream at Risk.

It says that over the past 10 years, Michigan's legislators have cut support to the things Michigan citizens love most.

Because of this, Michigan's roads, outdoors, and schools are suffering.

The report suggests more than 60% of those polled favor funding for public investments.

John Austin is the Director of MEC.

michigan.org

The Pure Michigan advertising campaign helped fill state tax coffers again last year.

Michigan has invested heavily in an effort to boost tourism in recent years. And the commercials, which are voiced by actor Tim Allen, and often feature scenic shots of lake vistas or Detroit nightlife, are getting through to people.

Michelle Grinnell is the public relations manager for Pure Michigan. She says the Pure Michigan brand connects with people.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

2014 may be a ‘robust’ year for Michigan’s tourism industry.

Stock markets and consumer confidence are high, housing markets are improving and unemployment is down. Michigan State University researchers say these are all factors that play a role in determining if people will take a vacation.

The MSU researchers presented their annual tourism forecast at an industry conference in Traverse City this morning.

They’re predicting a 4.5% increase in hotel receipts this year compared with 2013, which was a strong year for Michigan tourism.

michigan.org

Gov. Rick Snyder is making his way to Asia on Wednesday, in an attempt to sell China and Japan on all things “Pure Michigan.”

This will be Snyder’s third trip to eastern Asia as governor. This time around, the governor is not only attempting to build business relationships with China and Japan, but also trying to pitch the Great Lakes State as a new American destination for Asian tourists.

Expanding the “Pure Michigan” campaign to international tourists is a relatively new endeavor for the state. Just this February, the state allocated an additional $4 million to the program for the sole purpose of bringing in foreign travelers.

And perhaps with good reason. In 2012, Chinese tourists beat out their American and German counterparts as the world’s top international tourist spenders. In just that year, Chinese sightseers spent $104 billion on global travel.

But will Michigan ever bypass popular U.S. travel destinations, like Times Square or San Francisco?

Pure Michigan

There's a new Pure Michigan ad about Detroit. 

Released on August 19, the 32-second video features classic images of Detroit through a soft, fuzzy lens.

An evening row on the river, a sunny afternoon at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and a fresh array of fruit and veggies at Eastern Market create a picturesque montage of the city.

Also, there's an unusually large number of fountains. Here's what we see in 32 seconds:

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Part of the iconic Irish Hills Towers in Lenawee County is being demolished this week.

Members of a small wrecking crew are slowly dismantling the two observation decks that top the six story tall wooden towers.   The work is expected to take a few days, depending in part on the weather. 

The towers have been a landmark along U-S Route 12 in southern Michigan since the 1920’s and they're on the National Register of Historic Places.  

But age and neglect have taken a toll in recent years.

State of Michigan

New license plates in Michigan will feature the "Pure Michigan" tourism logo.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Gov. Rick Snyder unveiled the plates today at a secretary of state branch in Lansing. They say the plates will help millions of residents be ambassadors for their state.

From the press release:

Gov. Snyder called the plates a new way to help strengthen the Pure Michigan brand, which encourages economic growth and job creation.

"More tourism is good for Michigan families, communities and our economy," Snyder said. "The Pure Michigan campaign successfully attracts out-of-state dollars and investment because we have such a great story to tell and so many unique destinations and opportunities. Now every driver can join the effort to promote the place we call home."

The plate unveiled today will gradually replace the state's standard white-and-blue license plate.

The current standard plates with a blue bar across the top will be issued until they're gone in each Secretary of State office.

For an extra $5, you can request a Pure Michigan plate now. All new personalized, veteran and fundraising plates will have the Pure Michigan logo without asking.

Past license plates have touted Michigan as a "Water Wonderland" or the "Great Lake State," so we wanted to know, which Michigan license plate is your favorite?

Check out the selections above and take our poll:

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michigan.org

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The state's "Pure Michigan" tourism campaign is kicking off a $13 million national cable television advertising effort.

The new campaign begins airing Monday and runs through the end of June. It includes five partners that pitched in a total of $3 million: Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Mackinac Island, Traverse City and The Henry Ford historical attraction in Dearborn.

The state says Ann Arbor contributed $1 million and the other four partners contributed $500,000 each.

michigan.org

Bridge Magazine published an article this week that shows the scale and value of Michigan's tourism sector.

Contributor Jeff Alexander writes the sector accounts for $17.7 billion of Michigan's $300 billion-plus economy.

Citing state tourism data, Alexander writes since it's launch in 2006,  the Pure Michigan campaign has helped attract out of state visitors by focusing on the states natural beauty and historic attractions.

David Defoe / flickr

This week in review Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss Detroit’s State of the City address, lawmakers conversation about abortions and Viagra coverage in Senate health plans, and the removal of Pure Michigan right to work ads.

An ad in the Wall St. Journal touting Michigan's controversial right to work law along with the Pure Michigan logo.
MyFoxDetroit

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) got some heat after this ad appeared in the Wall Street Journal last month (photo courtesy of MyFoxDetroit):

It cost MEDC  $144,000.

MEDC is a public-private entity and functions as a marketing firm for the state of Michigan. MEDC officials say only private money was spent on the Wall St. Journal ad.

But tying the state's 'Pure Michigan' brand to a controversial new law was roundly criticized by Democrats and by some advertising experts.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said the ad was "too specific, and possibly divisive."

The Detroit News reports today that MEDC won't do it again:

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has halted use of the Pure Michigan logo in advertisements promoting the new right-to-work law following backlash from Democrats and criticism from Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

"At this point any further advertising on that level or in that style has been put on hold," Jim McBryde, vice president of government affairs, told the House Tourism Committee Thursday morning.

Mike Finney, president and CEO of the MEDC, is re-evaluating use of the tourism logo in economic development advertisements, McBryde said.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Referendum campaign will try to block wolf hunts

After Governor Rick Snyder recently signed legislation opening up the doors to a possible wolf hunt in the state, a referendum campaign is trying to block the move. The Detroit News reports,

A petition committee, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, is attempting to gather 225,000 signatures in the next two and a half months for a statewide ballot question that would protect wolves from being hunted as a trophy animal.

Governor Snyder criticizes right to work as Pure Michigan ad

Governor Rick Snyder has criticized a Michigan Economic Development Corporation ad that ran in the Wall Street Journal that touts the new right to work legislation as "Pure Michigan. "Governor Snyder says he would not have singled out right-to-work. Instead, he says he hoped the ad would highlight a broad range of new economic policies," Jake Neher reports.

www.michigan.org

Governor Rick Snyder says he would not have tied the Pure Michigan brand so closely with the state’s controversial right-to-work law in a recent ad.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has been taking criticism for the ad, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

It promotes right-to-work alongside a logo for the state’s popular tourism campaign.

Governor Snyder said he thinks the message was too specific, and possibly divisive.

Ifmuth / Flickr

This week and review Michigan Radio’s Weekend Edition host Rina Miller and political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss proposed bills to end lame duck sessions and make it easier to file freedom of information act requests. They also chat about the controversial right to work Pure Michigan ad that appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Wall Street Journal ad calls right-to-work law "Pure Michigan"

Jan 10, 2013
Pure Michigan / YouTube

Update 6:45 p.m.

A "Pure Michigan" ad in the Wall Street Journal caused quite the stir this week. It didn't feature sandy beaches, pretty golf courses, or fishing... but Michigan's new right-to-work law instead.

“We certainly understood that this was not an issue where there was unanimous support," Michael Finney, President of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation said.

Stateside: Pure Michigan's history of allure

Dec 5, 2012
www.michigan.org

The Pure Michigan campaign is credited with attracting 3.2 million out-of-state visitors to Michigan.

It is an effective campaign with a surprisingly long history.

Michael Federspiel, executive director of the Little Traverse Historical Society and history professor at Central Michigan University spoke with Cyndy about the Pure Michigan of the past.

According to Federspiel, Northern Michigan was faced with reconstructing its image

“It was an area looking for an identity,” said Federspiel.

The major message of 19th century promotional campaigns was a combination of relaxation and exploration.

“During those years when the railroads were in charge of publicity, they would create booklets that would be in hotels and railroad stations. They would point to Northern Michigan where you could be very active, or not active at all. The Pure Michigan campaign targets non-Michiganians,” said Federspiel.

According to Federspiel,  in 1898 Ernest Hemingway's family decided to come to Petoskey and bought property. The Hemingway family still owns that original cottage.

“You have resort communities that were founded in the 1870’s that were places people came to spend the season.”

There are two ways you can podcast "Stateside with Cynthia Canty"

 Marquette Park on Mackinac Island
user Notorious4Life / Wikimedia Commons

Detroit Free Press columnist Ron Dzwonkowski offers 10 ways we can tell another Michigan summer is upon us.

Here's the list:

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Obama Administration wants to step up efforts to promote the U.S. as an international tourism destination. That’s welcome news to the folks who run the “Pure Michigan” campaign.

Michigan tourism officials know people from foreign countries come here to vacation, but they don’t know how many, and that’s important to know when they’re planning how to spend the “Pure Michigan” campaign’s $25 million advertising budget.  

This year, only about one percent,  or about $250,000, is being spent to promote Michigan as a tourism destination in Europe, mainly in England and Germany. Nothing is being spent in Asia.

George Zimmerman oversees the “Pure Michigan” campaign for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. He says the Obama Administration’s tourism strategy includes determining where foreign visitors want to go.

“For about half the states, including Michigan, there just isn’t enough sample size to really have good data. So, that’s been a challenge for us, says Zimmerman. 

Right now, the “Pure Michigan” campaign is focusing on regional promotions with some national ads, and “a modest effort” in Canada.

(I'm partial to the Grand Rapids video... but there's lots more here.)

A new report shows the Pure Michigan campaign drove a record one billion dollars into the state’s economy last spring and summer. That’s almost twice as much as the spring and summer of 2010 (it was $605 million then).

“This is the biggest result ever for the campaign,” said George Zimmermann, director of the state’s tourism group, Travel Michigan. “The results just every year are a little better, little better; now this year is a pretty big jump,” George Zimmermann said.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — As the seasons turn, it's time for this year's Pure Michigan national advertising campaign.

The $12 million ad blitz on cable TV starts Monday and runs through June on more than 20 networks, ranging from Animal Planet to CNN to the Weather Channel.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids-area hotels made record income last year. Hotel revenue in Kent County grew at a faster rate than the average for hotels in Michigan and the United States. That’s according a report released by the convention and visitors bureau – Experience Grand Rapids.

Experience Grand Rapids president Doug Small says the city attracted larger conventions and more leisure travelers this year. “It’s a combination of very creative marketing, collaboration, wonderful events that continue to dot our landscape,” Small said, noting ArtPrize and Laughfest as examples. “It’s all good; it’s the perfect storm.”

Small says the ‘Pure Michigan’ marketing campaign deserves some credit too. “We’re a big partner with them – we’ve always been since day one. They’ve helped drive a lot of our summer business,” Small said.

Kent County’s 70 hotels made a combined $114 million dollars last year, a 10-percent increase from the year before. In 2009 it was just $93 million. The hospitality industry employs 24,000 people in Kent County.

Michigan Radio

2012 is shaping up to be a busy year for the people who produce the Pure Michigan ads.

Harbor Springs, Gaylord, Charlevoix and Jackson are the latest cities to pony up $20,000 each to be part of the popular tourism campaign. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation matches the money, bringing the total to $40,000, which gets each city its own radio ad and a spot on the Pure Michigan website. 

Rory Finneren / Creative Commons

The head of Michigan’s travel association says the state will continue to expand the Pure Michigan marketing campaign in 2012.

George Zimmermann is with the state’s tourism group, Travel Michigan. He told a group of business leaders in Grand Rapids that Michigan has the 7th largest travel budget compared to other states in the country.

“2010 was the first time ever that non-residents spent more in Michigan on leisure travel than residents,” Zimmermann said, “My prediction is that will never cross back the other way.”

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s agriculture industry is busy expanding in China.  But the same can’t be said for the state’s tourism industry.  At least not yet.  A million Chinese tourists are expected to visit the U.S. this year.  But only a relative handful will come to the Great Lakes State. 

Fran Wiltgen helps her son Joe, run his business, Joe's Bar and Grill, in South Haven, Michigan.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s fall foliage tourism business has been enjoying an unusually good fall season.    Clear skies and warm temperatures have been keeping the leaves on the trees longer and tourists coming.   

David Lorenz is with Travel Michigan.   He says the state’s travel website has seen an uptick in people visiting in recent weeks.  

"That’s probably also a sign that people are recognizing ….they were hearing good news about fall colors this year  and they wanted to get out and enjoy it," says Lorenz.  

user hyperboreal / Flickr

"Get up. Get out. And go see something we'll remember for the rest of our lives."

So says the new radio ad from Pure Michigan urging people to get outside and take in the fall colors in Michigan.

The ad is part of a TV and radio campaign that runs through mid-October according to the Detroit Free Press:

The budget is $2.4 million.

Among the new radio ads promoting Michigan tourism feature Holland and St. Ignace. They'll run in-state plus in Fort Wayne, Toledo and South Bend.

Other targets for "Pure Michigan" ads this fall are the good citizens of Chicago, Indianapolis, several Ohio cities, Milwaukee and Green Bay.

Here's the television ad. Effective?

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The “Pure Michigan” tourism campaign targeted a new audience over the weekend….NASCAR fans.   The state tourism marketing campaign sponsored the nationally televised “Pure Michigan 400” race on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.   It's part of the state’s 25 million dollar tourism promotion budget.  

Michael Finney is the President the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.  He says the NASCAR sponsorship is part of an evolution of the marketing campaign.  

Nobody needs me to tell them that this has been a rough decade for Michigan’s economy. The roughest since the Great Depression of the nineteen-thirties.

And, as the stock market plunge indicates, a return to the prosperity we used to take for granted is nowhere in sight.

That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t a few bright spots, and one of the brightest has been tourism. A few weeks ago, I spent an hour with George Zimmerman, who runs Travel Michigan the official state tourism promotion agency.

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