Wednesday, July 25, 2007

When Ads are Too Subtle

For quite some time I have been seeing an ad campaign on television about why businesses should move to Michigan. I like Michigan, I was born just outside of Detroit and have fond memories of growing up there. Like many, my parents had to leave in the 1970s because of a deteriorating economy. The joke then was "will the last person to leave Michigan please turn off the lights." So, I was glad to see an effort to lure business back.

I've seen the ads many times and took close note of the testimonies of individuals whose lives or businesses have changed since moving into that state. Each advertisement ended with "Michigan has the upper hand" and a nifty little drawing showing the state. Upper hand, hmmm. I saw the ad on TV so often, I can't even tell you, but I was thumbing through a magazine and saw it again with special emphasis on the picture (see above).

Ahh, upper hand. It's a glove. One of the first things you learn about Michigan when growing up in the schools there is that it is shaped like a glove. Furthermore, it is one of the country's most northern states (just south of Canada, unless you are in Detroit, which is just north of Windsor, check it out on a map).

I grew up in Michigan and it took forever for this message to finally click with me. This ad is intended to reach people outside of Texas (thus they didn't likely go to Michigan public schools) and they are expecting it to resonate with the vast majority of its viewers? I doubt it. If Michigan is going to attract new businesses, it is going to have to be a little clearer in reaching its audience. As an aside, it would help if they created an economic environment that will attract business. But that will be another post.

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