MACKINAC POLICY CONFERENCE: Daniels to tout state's potential
Ads with actor, execs to lure businesses
June 1, 2006
MACKINAC ISLAND -- Michigan is expected to unveil a new $10-million marketing campaign today that features actor Jeff Daniels touting the state as a great place to do business.
Details are to be rolled out this morning at the Detroit Regional Chamber's annual Mackinac Policy Conference by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Michigan Economic Development Corp. President James Epolito, Daniels and executives of two technology companies expanding in Michigan.
A national radio, TV and targeted print advertising blitz begins today, featuring a tagline boasting that Michigan businesses have "the Upper Hand" thanks to the new $2-billion 21st Century Jobs Fund, dozens of universities and thousands of skilled workers. This push is separate from tourism promotions.
Ads will air nationally on Charles Osgood's show on CBS Radio, Maria Bartiromo's show on the Premier Radio Network and Sean Hannity's show on ABC Radio. Locally, the radio spots will air 22 times a week for the next six months on Detroit AM radio stations WWJ and WJR. TV ads on CNBC and other stations will begin running in September.
Daniels, a lifelong Detroit Tigers fan, playwright and founder of the Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea, is a natural pitchman for his home state, although skeptics may scoff at having the costar of the movie "Dumb & Dumber" trying to paint Michigan's struggling economy as a promised land.
But he will have help.
Top executives of Michigan technology-based companies that have expanded or relocated in Michigan also will be featured. Two of those executives are Subhendu Guha, president of United Solar Ovonic in Auburn Hills, and Maria Thompson, chief executive officer of T/J Technologies in Ann Arbor, who will participate in today's campaign launch.
United Solar Ovonic, a subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices, recently announced plans to build its third Michigan plant for making photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight to energy. The first two are in Auburn Hills. The newest plant will be in Greenville, the town rocked by the closure this year of the Swedish-owned Electrolux AB refrigerator manufacturer, which once employed 3,000 people there.
T/J Technologies is a 15-year-old company that has emerged as a leader in using nanomaterials in alternative-energy applications such as lithium ion batteries and fuel cells.
The thrust of the new marketing push, state officials say, is to influence top executives, nationally and globally, in four target industries: life sciences, advanced manufacturing, advanced technology and homeland security.
Knowing that the troubles of auto giants General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. have dominated the headlines that people outside of Michigan see about the state's economy, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. decided to counter those with specific stories of successful, growing Michigan businesses. State officials say they will use eight or 10 different Michigan business success stories in ads during the coming year.
Print ads will run in business magazines such as Fortune and Forbes, plus publications for narrower specialty audiences, such as Executive Decision magazine.
The 21st Century Jobs fund, which will provide $2 billion over the next 10 years to emerging-technology companies, will be a key focus of Michigan's business-attraction efforts. The state received 505 applications for the first $100 million in funding available this year.
Contact TOM WALSH at 313-223-4430 or email@example.com.
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