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Pure Michigan success “just getting started”

A Pure Michigan billboard in New York City.
Rory Finneren
Creative Commons
A Pure Michigan billboard in New York City.

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.”

Zimmermann says the Pure Michigan campaign is so successful because of its non-traditional, some-what emotional appeal. The campaign launched in 2006 in the middle of a decade long economic downturn in Michigan. Zimmermann thinks the timing has helped the message resonate outside the region.  

He hopes the campaign will become as well-known as New York (I Love NY) or Virginia’s (Virginia is for lovers) ad campaigns; both of which have been around for three decades or longer.

“Our belief is that the phrase Pure Michigan kind of more generally now means anything that’s authentically, positively Michigan,” Zimmermann said.

Research data for last year’s ad campaign won’t be released for a couple of months.

Pure Michigan spent $11.5 million on national ads in 2011. Zimmermann estimates it'll be closer to $12 million in 2012. Most of that will be spent on spring and summer ads. 

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station'sAmplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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