$1M national Pure Michigan campaign to showcase business and tourism in Washtenaw County
Washtenaw County will be at the center of a new $1 million national advertising campaign planned to showcase the area's opportunities for business and tourism.
County officials announced the new Pure Michigan campaign at Wednesday's meeting of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp. proposed the pilot program called "Sense of Place," which will combine, for the first time, support for tourism and economic development, putting Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County in the national spotlight.
"This is the only area in the state that is being considered for this combination," County Board Chairman Conan Smith, D-Ann Arbor, wrote in a memo to commissioners.
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
The MEDC plans to allocate $500,000 from its Pure Michigan funds, with a matching amount from SPARK and the local CVBs. The Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti CVBs each plan to allocate $230,000 and SPARK plans to allocate $70,000.
The county board voted 10-0 Wednesday night with Alicia Ping absent to distribute $150,000 in excess collections from the county's accommodations ordinance administrative fund to the Ann Arbor CVB and $50,000 to the Ypsilanti CVB to help fund the effort.
"The objective is to increase awareness throughout the entire United States rather than depending just on regional marketing," Smith said. "It is an exciting chance to showcase the opportunities in our county for both business and tourism."
The main component will be a national cable TV advertising campaign. Additionally, the plans include a presence on the state's Pure Michigan website with four articles appearing throughout the year, written by the CVBs and featuring various local attractions.
HGTV also is expected to air a “Househunters” episode where a family searches for a house in the area. It's proposed that the episode will air in June, subject to negotiations with HGTV.
Additionally, SPARK plans to create a video highlighting how AnnArbor and Washtenaw County are unique, showcasing the area's thriving business climate, arts and cultural offerings, dining and overall quality of life. Journalists will be invited on press trips to experience Washtenaw County firsthand to see why companies have come to call the Ann Arbor area home.
SPARK plans to offer both national and regional publications information on the opportunities the area has to offer businesses, residents and visitors.
There also will be a $50,000 national digital campaign to direct people to the SPARK website, as well as a national print campaign with a focus on economic development.
Mary Kerr, president of the Ann Arbor CVB, said she'll have more details next week, but she was told the Pure Michigan spring/summer campaign will be launched in March.
The money the county board voted to distribute to the CVBs on Wednesday comes from a 5 percent excise tax the county collects from hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts, which is distributed to the CVBs and used to promote tourism and convention business.
The county board took action last year to amend the county's accommodations ordinance to keep track of the actual administrative expenses needed for enforcing collections of the 5 percent tax. The county treasurer now keeps 10 percent of the proceeds for that purpose.
It was determined there was an excessive amount of more than $350,000 in the administrative fund, and so $200,000 of that money is being channeled to the CVBs ahead of schedule.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.