BUSINESS SITUATION AND CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES
For generations, Michigan's economy stood securely on three powerful legs: manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism. For the better part of the last decade, however, the tourism industry found itself increasingly challenged by the seemingly inevitable decline of the U.S. auto industry. Fewer jobs meant fewer people to enjoy Michigan's exceptional vacation amenities... and a lot less money to keep the hotels, restaurants, and tourist towns of the state viable. The Pure Michigan campaign launched in 2006 during arguably, one of the most depressed economies we (both Michigan and the entire country) have seen in decades. But thanks to a one-time funding initiative from legislature, the state was afforded, quite literally, the chance of a lifetime – not only to create an emotional, impactful campaign to attract tourists, but also the means to hire partners to make it happen.
Things turned critical in mid 2008 as the U.S. auto industry began collapsing – with two of the once Big Three moving toward bankruptcy. Tens of thousands of tourism customers were losing their jobs virtually overnight. The state's tourism industry, which had promoted Michigan largely in neighboring metro markets familiar with the state, had to start making a case to the rest of the U.S. that Michigan was a legitimate contender for their vacation dollars. And with a growing list of supporters – residents, consumers and key state officials, the campaign continued to be funded at increasing levels, despite the battle in Lansing (our capitol) over state budget allocations. It is worth noting, that budget allocation for the campaign is completely dependent on government funding and therefore forced to contend with every other issue facing our government that is in need of budget and attention (education, transportation, envioronment, safety, etc.) – less than ideal especially considering the poor economic times.