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Thoughts on the Pure Michigan Campaign

by Guest Blogger: Judy Zehnder on Feb 23rd 2010

As a member of the State of Michigan Travel Commission, I would like to offer my comments on the Pure Michigan campaign. 

Last year’s Pure Michigan promotion budget was $30 million, the biggest in our state's history.  In addition to our regional advertising, this 2009 budget allowed us to do winter advertising for the first time in 15 years and to launch Michigan’s first-ever national advertising campaign.  This was a $10 million cable TV buy that aired on 15 cable TV channels throughout the United States and parts of Canada.  Pure Michigan TV commercials aired 7,900 times last spring and summer and were seen by an estimated 60 million Americans coast to coast.
We just got the first results from the national campaign on the advertising return from the investment made.  This study was conducted by Longwoods International.  They found that the national campaign motivated 680,000 trips to Michigan from outside of the Great Lakes region, and those visitors spent $250 million at Michigan businesses and paid $17.5 million in state taxes.  So, the campaign more than paid for itself, while stimulating a quarter of a billion dollars of revenue for Michigan businesses. 
In simple terms, in the last 4 years, every $1 invested in the Pure Michigan campaign has generated $2.86 in NEW SALES TAX to the State of Michigan treasury.
Despite these results, we started 2010 with a promotion budget of $5.4 million, the lowest level since 2005.  Last week, the Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously to increase that by another $9.5 million to a total of $14.9 million.  This funding will allow us to continue our regional advertising, but it is not enough to run the successful national advertising campaign again this year.  We need Pure Michigan fully funded at $30 million to continue to attract visitors from outside the Great Lakes region.
This national tourism campaign is very important to Michigan.  We have a Michigan resident tourism deficit.  In other words, more Michigan residents vacation outside of Michigan than in Michigan.  One way to grow jobs in Michigan is to encourage Michigan residents to vacation in Michigan.  Another way is to continue funding the national Pure Michigan campaign so we can realize the benefits of the past.
Michigan has the recreational and historical sites that visitors seek.  We do not have to spend money on infrastructure or new developments.  We only have to spend money to tell the story.  Please encourage the representatives and senators in Lansing to support the national Pure Michigan campaign.
EDITOR'S NOTE: BMN encourages you to contact your State Senator and/or State Representatives to share your opinion on this subject, and any other that is close to your heart.  To find out who your State Representatives are and contact them click HERE.  For State Senators click HERE.
Judy Zehnder is a State of Michigan Travel Commissioner and President of the Bavarian Inn Lodge in Frankenmuth.

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