Saturday, May 23, 2009

Michigan, Nukes And Pizza

You wouldn't think Michigan is one of the hardest hit states in terms of unemployment and economic meltdown by viewing their television ads promoting tourism.

These are among the best, slickest and most professional ads seen on the tube in markets where they are shown.

The cost to produce these ads must run in the millions of dollars whether they are paid out of local taxpayers pockets or a benevolent industry. Doesn't matter. The question is will they produce results.

For a month now, the ads asking viewers to go to have saturated the Time Warner Cable market in Southern California.

Competition for the tourist dollar is intense. Second to Michigan in terms of sheer volume of advertising is the state of Utah, Key West Florida, Las Vegas, Jamaica and Israel. The California Tourism agency boasts a cute ad featuring celebrities including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger and his wife, Maria Shriver. For the life of me I don't understand why it spends money touting the tributes in one's own state.

Tourism is a major industry in many states and my guess it is suffering as a result of the recession and tight credit just as most other sectors of the economy are feeling. It make me wonder about the old axiom that it takes money to earn money.

Speaking of spending advertising dollars, the Republican National Committee's latest commercial features President Obama praising the impending closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison by plagiarizing a Lyndon Johnson 1964 ad which portrayed a little girl picking leaves off a daisy. The implication is a countdown to a nuclear holocaust as suggested in the ad 45 years ago.

What??? Oh, I get it. Instead of a nuke, the closure will mean we will release terrorists on the streets of America. Now what idiot is going to believe that? The RNC raised $5 million in April, about a million more than the Democrats. Flushed with money to burn, they spent a portion of it on the ad. Some investment, Mr. Steele.

Television ads are forever insulting the intelligence of us consumers. The dumbest of the dumbing down goes to a pizza chain which blindfolds its subjects and have them eat pasta in famous restaurants. After praising the cuisine, the diners are told: "Surprise! It's from Pizza Hut."

Wouldn't you love to see the outtakes from those commercials?

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