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Posted on Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 6:50 p.m.

Ann Arbor doubles its Pure Michigan national campaign efforts to $2M this year

By Amy Biolchini

Ann Arbor will be doubling its efforts to $2 million in its second year purchasing national TV advertisements with the state's Pure Michigan campaign.


Ann Arbor is doubling its national TV ad buy this year with the Pure Michigan campaign.

Melanie Maxwell | file photo

It's a part of this year's $13 million national cable TV tourism campaign through the Travel Michigan Partnership Advertising Program, which is part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Other national partners include The Henry Ford, Mackinac Island, Traverse City, and, for the first time, Grand Rapids. Each of those communities will be contributing $500,000 to the campaign, while Ann Arbor has committed $1 million.

Travel Michigan will be matching Ann Arbor's $1 million for a total ad buy of $2 million.

The $1 million contribution from Ann Arbor area entities is double its contribution to last year’s Pure Michigan campaign.

The Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is again partnering with the Ypsilanti Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and SPARK to fund the contract.

The expanded ad campaign was made possible by a return of marketing dollars collected by Washtenaw County in the accommodations ordinance administrative fund. Per state law, the county can collect up to 10 percent off the top of the hotel tax to help fund the county's collection process and administrative fees.

The county found that they didn’t need the full 10 percent that they were collecting and it is being returned to the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti convention and visitor’s bureaus in a lump sum, said Mary Kerr, president of the Ann Arbor CVB.

That one-time money is being used to fund the Pure Michigan campaign expansion.

“We don’t anticipate being able to do this again,” Debbie Locke-Daniel, executive director of the Ypsilanti CVB, said of the expanded campaign.

Though the divisions of funding sources for the $1 million commitment from Ann Arbor entities have yet to be finalized, Kerr said the Ann Arbor CVB will be paying for at least half and Locke-Daniel said the Ypsilanti CVB will be paying for about 25 percent.

Ann Arbor will be featured in the commercial but Ypsilanti will not, said Locke-Daniel. Ypsilanti is a featured destination on the Ann Arbor website page on, Locke-Daniel said.

“What’s good for Ann Arbor is good for Ypsilanti,” Locke-Daniel said. “You have to use the brand to drive everyone here and that’s what that commercial is doing.”

The 2013 campaign runs continuously for six weeks, beginning April 1, and will have 720 spots on 12 cable TV networks nationally.

The TV campaign is estimated to reach 42 percent of adults in the target demographic between the ages of 25 and 54, Kerr said, and is estimated to have 210 million impressions.

In 2012, the Ann Arbor CVB signed up for its first national Pure Michigan campaign. It committed $500,000 to a $1 million campaign. The 500-spot TV ad campaign ran for two weeks in April and two weeks in May on 12 cable networks.

It garnered 62.5 million impressions and hit 33 percent of the target audience: Women between 25 and 54 years old, Kerr said.

Kerr said the Pure Michigan ads will target both prospective businesses and tourists. The Ann Arbor TV spots will have more of a presence on networks including CNN, MSNBC, Fox and the Golf Channel to market the area more to businesses, Kerr said.

The national ad campaign has had success, partly based on the web traffic Kerr has seen on Ann Arbor’s website hosted on and partly through hotel occupancy rates.

Hotel occupancy in Washtenaw County is the highest the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has seen since 2000, Kerr said. The county finished 2012 with an occupancy level of 67.5 percent - which is an increase of 2.6 percent from the year before.

The average daily rate for a hotel room in Washtenaw County was about $93.82 in 2012 -- about 4.2 percent more than the average daily rate for a room in 2011, according to data from Kerr's office.

The national ad buys have had particular success in attracting visitors from the Chicago area to the Ann Arbor page on the website, Kerr said.

In 2012, page views to the Washtenaw County portion of the Pure Michigan page increased by 72 percent from the year before, Kerr said.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.


Susan Ursus

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:46 a.m.

Anything not nailed down gets stolen by a guy on parole. Yep, that's Pure Michigan.

Susan Ursus

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:45 a.m.

Emergency Managers are the unelected potentates of our failed cities. That's Pure Michigan.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

What kind of Tourist are we in need of? Girls gone wild seekers, Hash bash worshipers, Four star soup & shelter conventioneers, Suicidal bicyclist junkies, Greenish whitewater rafters, Public art connoisseurs, Parking ticket and bar stamp collectors, Urban off-roaders, Commuter rail watchers, Green ring enthusiasts, Underground garage cavers, Tailgate intellectuals? Tour>est 1: A name given to a student on probation 2: Tourist class; or Detention


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

Nice waste of money Governor!


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2 p.m.

If by "waste" you mean something that "makes" money for the cities and state?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 10:25 a.m.

These people sure know how to urinate away our tax $$$$...Considering our hotel occupancy is already maxed , this is just another blatent waste of funds .. at least fix the damn roads so all the fun seekers don't trash their cars ( maybe they are riding bikes ) like we have to every day....


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 10:23 a.m.

Waste, waste, waste, waste., it's time for you to get personally involved in this town and stretch your journalistic muscle. Take a couple pictures of the road on South Forest and post those on these types of stories. Caption them with text like "Come see our car-destroying streets." The roads in this town are an embarrassment. When friends and family visit us, it is humiliating driving them through town. They pay about 1/3 the property taxes we do, have nicer houses, fewer empty storefronts, and much better streets. And now we're doubling our money in the hopes that more people will come see how dumb we are. Is some footage going to be of the $100,000 chandelier in City Hall? Hope they won't think it's weird they have to take all the metal out of their pockets and check their cell phone in a locker to see it. One great shot to have in the ad would be a slow pan by the fountain with a big "$750,000 and counting" sign hung on it. I'm a little skeptical of this whole "these ads are definitely paying for themselves, look at all these page views" approach too. A million bucks could probably fix a few high-profile roads. Has anyone reading this or writing this article driven down East Huron from Maple? Or down State from Huron? Or down South Forest? Or Ann Arbor Saline where 94 is?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

Thanks for the links, Amy. I'm not sure why you got voted down on those, except maybe someone's (understandable) dissatisfaction with the way the money is spent; I'm guessing that whatever stream it comes from or goes to, a much better and real, deliverable good could be done with it than doubling ad expense to (maybe) bring more people to see our crappy streets and empty storefronts.

Amy Biolchini

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

Our road coverage is extensive and ongoing -- a grouping of some links can be found here: The funding for these ad buys mainly comes from the hotel room tax and is of a different funding stream with different requirements from the money that is used for infrastructure improvements. I have driven down all of those streets and would agree with you regarding their poor condition. Spring pothole story: Ann Arbor-Saline Road coverage: County road construction preview: City of Ann Arbor road construction preview: County road funding issues:


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:12 a.m.

WOW...$2 million for only 6 wks. Of ad time. Wouldn't this money be better utilized on beautifying the State St. Boulevard north of I94? What an eyesore it is to welcome folks to the city!! This strip of concrete is dull and could be made into an area that would give a positive impression of Ann Arbor. What return on your investment do you expect? $2 million....really???


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

The estimates, if I remember correctly, are that you more than double your money on these ads.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:49 a.m.

Last year I signed up to receive the periodic travel information. How many people from other cities delete some of the on-line promotions they receive? Amid some decent promotional material I've received, some items are unlikely to attract people from larger cities. Also, how many who receive the infomation live within an hour or two of Ann Arbor and won't be staying in area hotels? It would be interesting to read about hotel vacancy rates at times other than football games, graduations, move-in, and art fair?

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:43 a.m.

Ypsilanti will pay for 25% even though they won't be mentioned in the ad. Wow!

Amy Biolchini

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

The ad used in the campaign is the one that ran last year:


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

Given how many hotels are in Ann Arbor, it makes sense. For football Saturdays you don't get 110,000 people staying in Ann Arbor.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:09 a.m.

Not sure exactly where the funds for this advertising come from but I'll bet deep down it's from taxes that we pay. Why then don't we invest in something tangible like better (adequate?) police and fire protection. This seems like a classic waste of resources. I'm sure the advertising guys will stay up late drinking lots of beer to rationalize why this is such a fabulous investment. Hey, maybe if we draw more tourists and they get mugged & robbed then we'll eventually get what we really need.

Chester Drawers

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

I'm pretty sure advertising guys drink martinis, not beer.

Amy Biolchini

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

The funds for the expanded ad buy came from money that was returned to the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti CVBs from the county from the amount the county takes off the top of the hotel room tax for administrative and collection purposes. The Ypsilanti CVB is funded completely by the hotel room tax, while the Ann Arbor CVB gets the majority of its funding from the tax. The money the CVBs are putting into this ad campaign has to be used for marketing purposes, Mary Kerr said.

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:22 a.m.

You're right of course but it's all about the choo choo! If it's the last thing I'm going to do I'm going to show we need this new train station even if we don't need it after all! Can't you tell by the road diets? All the studies? The need for a regional fire department? I'm not going to give up until I get my new choo choo station! You really are being selfish here! Something tangible? Think of the thousands of tourists that will use the train from Chicago! So what UMMC employees or patients won't be using the train! Hello does Dallas ring a bell? I've already accepted the bid from the construction company!

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:47 a.m.

The national ad buys have had particular success in attracting visitors from the Chicago area to the Ann Arbor page on the website, Kerr said. Note the "Chicago" area part. Someone is sure hoping people come in from Chicago and you know what this means to this someone's pipe dream: choo! choo! A million bucks to help sell a mega million station. What he forgets is that the Chicago crowd is not that impressed with Ann Arbor. And it still won't be enough for a mega million train station.

Dog Guy

Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 11:27 p.m.

$2 million assuredly will draw tourists for 51 non-artfair weeks, but to experience what? The Hurinal alone isn't enough. With Shakey Jake Woods gone, the homeless could be issued pink guitars from Herb David's clearance sale. Please submit your tourist attraction ideas to our profligate city council.

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:59 a.m.

Dear Dog Guy, this is another feeble attempt to show the need for a new mega million train station because someone has it in his head that people from the Chicago area (who have a beautiful and world class planetarium, aquarium, museums, shopping corridor, etc. plus major league sports, etc.) are just dying to come here and :) using the train of course! While it costed everyone else in the state of Michigan only $500,000 we just had to sink in $1,000,000. Budget anyone?