Detroit comeback story to be featured in 2016 Pure Michigan campaign

LANSING — Detroit's post-bankruptcy story will be a highlight of the Pure Michigan marketing campaign in 2016, as the state tries to redirect its image from a city in transition to an outright tourist destination.

The city will be the star of a 30-second national television commercial, expected to hit screens next spring. Actor and Michigan native Tim Allen again will provide the narration.

While many Pure Michigan TV spots feature sweeping rural vistas and picturesque landscapes, Detroit's ad will be more visually edgy, with close-up cuts and a faster pace meant to mimic Detroit's urban vibe, said Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, which manages the branding campaign.

In the past, Lorenz said, much of the messaging surrounding Detroit was that the city was a cool place to visit despite its challenges.

Now, 'we don't have to lead with the, 'Gee, I'm sorry,' message first,' Lorenz said, citing spurts of new development in and near downtown. 'It provides an opportunity for us to lead with, 'Hey, we're the comeback city. Detroit is a good place to visit, for these reasons.'

'Look at what we're doing and look at where we're going,' he said. 'Don't you want to be part of this as a visitor, or as a businessperson or as somebody looking to start their entrepreneurial career?'

Detroit's commercial will be part of a roughly $12 million national TV ad buy, Lorenz said. In all, Pure Michigan expects to spend $17 million next year on promotion, including public relations and social media efforts.

Pure Michigan's overall budget is $33 million.

Other commercials planned for spring and early summer will promote the state's growing craft beer industry and its farm-to-table 'foodie' culture, Lorenz said.

The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau will work with the MEDC on the Detroit promotion, Lorenz said. McCann Erickson's Birmingham office will produce the commercials.

The state plans to maintain a focus on Pure Michigan despite a 27 percent budget cut within theMichigan Economic Development Corp. this fall that led to the layoff of 65 employees across the department.

Recent data indicate the campaign works: $12.4 million spent on out-of-state advertising in 2014 inspired 4.1 million trips to the Mitten State, said Lorenz, citing estimates from Toronto-based market research firm Longwoods International, which measures Pure Michigan's return on investment.

Longwoods estimates those visitors spent $1.2 billion at Michigan businesses, paying $85.4 million in Michigan sales taxes.

[Full article here.]