Is 'Perfect Storm' The Way To Promote a Pure, Right-to-Work Michigan?

January 09, 2013, 9:15 AM

Everyone needs an editor. Even state economic development officials.

That truism is reinforced by a full-page Wall Street Journal ad Tuesday with the Pure Michigan logo. Two southeast Michigan bloggers ridicule it for saying that a right-to-work law, tax cuts, fewer regulations and new investment incentives create "the perfect storm of opportunity, resources and passion."     

Mark Maynard, a business development consultant in Ypsilanti, is the first to question the metaphor choice by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. His post is headlined "Someone should tell Governor Snyder that a 'perfect storm' isn’t generally considered a good thing."

Who uses the phrase 'perfect storm' in an ad campaign that’s trying to convey a sense of confidence about a region? I’ve actually read 'The Perfect Storm.' The book is about a desperate sea captain, who, in hopes of making a big financial score, heads his ship into a colossal storm front in search of elusive swordfish, putting the lives of his crew on the line.

And, guess what? There were no survivors!

And the irony of the Snyder administration referencing it, given what they’ve done to jeopardize the future of our state over the course of the past several months, I think, is hilarious.  

That send-up by Maynard, a University of Michigan alumnus ('93) and board member of the Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation, is echoed for a larger audience by longtime business columnist Rick Haglund at his blog about Michigan's economy.

Huh? . . . That certainly isn't the image Michigan intended to create in its Wall Street Journal ad.

But the political climate in the state is likely to be stormy for some time, thanks to Republicans who rammed a right-to-work bill through the Legislature's lame-duck session last month.

UPDATE (6 p.m.): A social media outcry is swelling. aimed at what critics see as politicization of the Pure Michigan tourism campaign..

Nearly 50 Facebook objections are on the Pure Michigan page, with many saying they had "unliked" the page to remove it from news feeds. 

Royal Oak dentist Bruce Donigan calls the ad "an insult to those of us trying to be proud of our state" and suggests: "It should have been signed by the governor and Republicans, and leave the term Pure Michigan out of it."

Wendy Ten Eyck Allison, a Walmart manager from Lansing, posts that she is "disappointed that Pure Michigan got polluted by attaching itself to politics."

More than 30 comments also are below a Detroit Free Press blog post by Jewel Gopwani of Birmingham, the paper's assitstant editor for community engagement.

"Injecting divisive politics into a marketing campaign is a surefire way to move toward failure" comments Freep reader Craig Hennigan of Detroit, a 36-year-old graduate teaching assistant at Wayne State. "Attaching that logo to what is perceived as a political message undermines the credibility of the brand. Poor marketing move, Snyder administration."

At Twitter, Mathhew Lechel, a 28-year-old Kalamazoo business consultant, tells followers: "What's next for #PureMichigan after RtW ad? pro-gun ads? Discrimination against gays? What else on Repub agenda do they support?."  

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