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Why the PureMichigan Campaign Is Pure Magic

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I’m not originally from Michigan, but when I watch the PureMichigan ads I feel proud to be here.

I feel like I want to be a part of Michigan – even when I take a run in near zero weather, and that is saying a lot for a South Westerner. I think these ads are a wonderful study in what every masterful leader aspires to do – to give life to their vision. A leader can’t do it alone. They need all kinds of people and teams to carry it out, investors and customers to buy in, and not just for a moment but for the long haul.

At first blush, the PureMichigan Campaign takes the viewer to sunsets, fall colors, and an all around good feeling of wanting to pursue the good life in Michigan. But on a deeper level it is more than beauty or poetic language, these ads connect Michigan’s beauty to my personal experience and memories, evoking a powerful feeling in me.

Read the following copy from one of the radio ads. Observe how it connects to my individual life, how it starts with an idea and an image we’ve all seen and connects it directly to my personal need. And once I’m hooked, it telescopes back out to the whole of Michigan and says there is something in the big picture for me. It puts me in a mood to play, and feel the need to breathe fresh air. What great Visioning.

“Gone fishing. It’s a sign we’ve seen in windows, barbershops, and corner stores for years. It means we’ve locked up and headed off to do something we love. A little sign that says so much about our need to fill our lungs with fresh air, to stretch, to laugh, to simply get out and play. Luckily there is an entire state dedicated to those little signs. With hundreds of lakes and thousands of rivers and streams, and nineteen million acres of woods, begging you to hang up gone swimming, gone camping, gone sailing, gone biking, gone golfing, gone climbing – signs. It is too easy to get caught up wading through meetings and scaling mountains of paper work. It’s time to play a little hooky. Meet you on the playgrounds of Michigan.”

And if you think evoking a powerful feeling and a good mood is too soft and unimportant for creating success in your leadership endeavors, then let’s look at the scorecard for how these ads played in the market. This campaign has been credited with bringing in over 3.2 million visitors to Michigan, who spent over $1 billion dollars in the economy. This national campaign, which cost $14.2 million dollars to produce and distribute, brought in over $70 million in tax revenue to the state of Michigan. And even more importantly it made people in the state feel good in very tough times. Pure magic.

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