Michigan cuts fall integrated tourism campaign

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State tourism agency Travel Michigan has cancelled the fall portion of its 2010 “Pure Michigan” advertising campaign due to budget cuts. The promotional budget for 2010 is $17 million, down 37% from 2009.

It will be the first time since 2005 that Michigan tourism will not have a fall advertising effort. In 2009, Travel Michigan spent $1.7 million on fall advertising.

“We chose to focus on the national effort that we introduced this summer to introduce Michigan as a national travel destination,” said George Zimmermann, VP of Travel Michigan. “We don't like it, but we didn't have any choice. We knew this was coming, though we did have some hope that there would be additional funding provided.”

The "Pure Michigan" campaign highlights water activities, outdoor adventures and golfing trips, which are popular across the state. Advertising agency McCann Erickson and digital agency Gammet Interactive created the work. The campaign includes search, TV, out-of-home, e-mail newsletters, print and social media, and all elements ask consumers to visit Michigan.org. The campaign ended in June, but search engine marketing, social media and online ads continued throughout the fall.

Travel Michigan is trying to use digital channels to spread the word for a cheaper media buy than television. However, because of the cut budgets, it can't buy additional digital media.

“We are still running digital media, but we aren't necessarily doing any more of them,” said Zimmerman. “We don't see one replacing the other, we see the benefit of doing digital media and more traditional advertising together.”

Zimmermann said that the state has seen considerable momentum in social media since it launched that aspect of its advertising last year. In June, when the campaign first launched, Travel Michigan had 50,000 Facebook fans compared to today's nearly 150,000.

“We've seen dramatic lift,” said Zimmerman. “Social media is a new way for us to reach consumers and the fact that it is growing is very exciting.”

The agency is awaiting next year's budget before making more marketing plans. “The question is will the funding be back to full range, so that we can do a winter campaign?” said Zimmerman. “Or will we just do spring and summer?”

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