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Michigan and other states rebrand to lure tourists

McCann Erickson — the agency who brought us Coca-Cola’s “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” ad and the “Army Strong” campaign — is behind the “Pure Michigan” tourism campaign, featured in a piece on states trying to brand (or rebrand) themselves by USA TODAY’s Rick Hampson.

The ads focus on Michigan’s natural attractions such as the freshwater coastline and the thousands of rivers, lakes, and streams — all of which are a far cry from recent history’s images of urban decay. The story also examines the effects on in-state morale.

From the story:

Pure Michigan is a prime example of state “branding,” the process by which a state (or any other place) plants a readily identifiable notion of itself in the national imagination. The goal is to make people visit, move there, do business there, or buy its products.

A branding success such as Pure Michigan, which has made http://www.michigan.org the most-visited state tourism website, is “not just a marketing campaign,” says Mitch Nichols, a Phoenix-based consultant.

“It repositions the very identity of the state.”

Hampson’s piece also details the identity crises facing New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and New Jersey, as well as oil-slicked Florida and controversy-battered Arizona.