Michigan Breaks Ad Campaign to Attract New Businesses

Looks to Strengthen Tech, Manufacturing Sectors Via $20 Million Effort

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- As its economy gets hammered by auto industry woes, the state of Michigan is backing a two-year, $20 million ad campaign to try to attract new businesses.
Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm unveiled the new ad effort, which stars actor Jeff Daniels, a Michigan resident.
Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm unveiled the new ad effort, which stars actor Jeff Daniels, a Michigan resident. Credit: AP/Michigan.gov

Gov. Jennifer Granholm today unveiled what's believed to be the Great Lakes State's most aggressive effort of its kind at an annual gathering of corporate and political movers and shakers.

Actor-director Jeff Daniels, who lives in rural Chelsea, Mich., hosts and narrates TV spots that tell the stories of CEOs who have expanded their operations in the state. The theme is "Michigan gives you the Upper Hand," a play on the shape of the state, which resembles a hand.

Campaign launches next week
The blitz starts nationally June 5 on CBS Radio's Charles Osgood show, ABC Radio's Sean Hannity program and Maria Bartiromo's show on Premier Network. TV commercials break on cable networks later this summer as will print ads in business titles such as Forbes and Fortune.

State lawmakers approved a bill to fund the project through the Michigan Economic Development Corp., or MEDC. That quasi-public group tapped independent DP & Co., Farmington Hills, Mich., to handle the campaign after a review.

The goal of the push is to "diversify our job base here" and is targeted at top corporate executives, MEDC President James Epolito told Advertising Age. The state is hoping to recruit businesses in advanced technology, life science, advanced manufacturing and defense. Roughly 20% of the ad budget will be spent on in-state media, he said.

Gov. Granholm said, "It's important for Michigan to know its own success stories. We all have to be ambassadors for Michigan's growth."

Wooing overseas corporations
Both the governor and Mr. Epolito have been globetrotting this spring to Asia, where they have been singing the praises of the state's talent pool to try to woo foreign corporations. The pair also held meetings with auto suppliers in April in Detroit at the Society of Automotive Engineers' World Congress to try, in part, to persuade them to buy one of six Delphi Corp. plants slated for shutdown.

David Littmann, retired chief economist of Detroit-based Comerica Bank, said in a speech in April that Michigan's 2005 economic performance compared to the rest of the nation matched its 1982 economic performance -- its worst on record, according to Crain's Detroit Business.
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