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Pure Michigan ad campaign found to have created thousands of jobs

A U.S. Travel Association commissioned study of the Pure Michigan ad campaign found that tourists from out of state spent $6.4 billion in Michigan last year, creating thousands of jobs.

After inconsistent promotion efforts for decades, the Pure Michigan® state promotion campaign began regionally in 2006 and went national in 2009. The powerful and non-traditional storytelling of Pure Michigan® has stimulated 7.2 million trips to Michigan by out-of-state visitors. Those visitors spent $2 billion at Michigan businesses and generated $138 million in new tax revenue for Michigan – more than three times the cost of the advertising itself.

In 2010, the second year of national Pure Michigan® advertising, spending by out-of-state leisure visitors jumped 21%, from 2009 to $6.4 billion. At the same time, Michigan tourism-related employment rose by 10,000 jobs. While facing a large deficit and forcing significant cuts to entitlement programs, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder nonetheless added $10 million in additional funding to the Pure Michigan® campaign in 2011, stating: “It brought in more tax revenue than it has cost our state.”

Michigan’s recreational value should be marketed like other branded commodities, said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association said.

“This study proves that destinations must operate like Nike, Apple and similar businesses that have followed the marketing path to success.”

The state government has been criticized for funding ads touting the state’s natural resources while defunding environmental enforcement, and the relentlessly positive and kitschy Pure Michigan campaign has inspired parody.

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