Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Live Like You Mean it in Pure Michigan?

I am not sure who does the ad campaign for Michigan tourism, but I have to stay they do a great job. Every time I hear an ad for Pure Michigan, I want to hop in the car and drive there. This morning I heard one that really got to me. It’s the one that says, “Realize water’s true potential”. I heard it on the radio and could only imagine the pictures, so I checked it out. The visuals are stunning, as are some of the other short videos at Pure Michigan – Michigan’s Official Travel and Tourism site.

By comparison, Wisconsin’s new ad makes me yawn. The theme for Wisconsin Tourism 2009 is Live Like You Mean It. There has been a lot written about the fact that the theme is not original, but for me that’s not the problem. The theme is - well, so ho hum. The first time I heard it I wondered, “What does that mean?” It doesn’t exactly entice me to visit all the wonderful spots in Wisconsin. Whatever happened to Escape to Wisconsin? That was popular when I was still living in Illinois, and only thinking of returning to Wisconsin. I loved seeing all the Illinois cars sporting that bumper sticker as they crossed the state line.

According to state officials, Wisconsin chose the 2009 based on more than tourism. They thought it would distinguish the state from its competitors in areas such as agriculture and commerce, too. I think it distinguishes us – but not in the way they wanted. I guess I am not the only one who doesn’t like the theme. Neither do 78% of the people who participated in the Business Journal (Milwaukee) poll a few weeks ago.

Michigan and Wisconsin are both states that are hurting in this economy – maybe Michigan even has us beat in this area. Tourism is an important business for both states and summer is a critical time. If ad campaigns matter, I think Michigan is going to win. And I am going to be one of those who head over to the Michigan side of my home lake.

Sure, part of the reason is that my son lives on the shores of Lake St. Clair and I will be visiting him Memorial Day weekend, but it’s more than that. I want to “realize water’s true potential” although I guess I could also ask the same question about this slogan – what does that mean? But it sounds so good. And I feel like I always live like I mean it – or should I say as if I mean it - whether I am in Illinois, New York, Michigan, or Wisconsin. How else should I live?

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