Sunrise Coast now part of Pure Michigan campaign


EAST TAWAS — The Sunrise Coast, which includes Arenac, Iosco, Alcona, Alpena, Presque Isle and Cheboygan counties, is a now a featured destination on as part of the Pure Michigan advertising campaign.

To celebrate the campaign, public officials and other residents from each county met at the Tawas Bay Beach Resort in East Tawas on April 14 for the unveiling of the Sunrise Coast ad campaign.

“This is the first time in history this coastline has worked together for tourism,” said Belle Flora, spokesperson for the Sunrise Coast Coalition.

The $80,000 campaign — half of the funds were raised by the counties of the Sunrise Coast — will include 10 weeks of summer radio air time, a fall radio spot running from September through mid-October and a place on the Pure Michigan Web site,

“We really need to broadcast it (the area), and I think this campaign does it,” said AuGres City Manager Pat Killingbeck.

As part of the campaign process, Killingbeck said that she and other residents of AuGres and Omer met with advertising agency McCann Erickson to give the agency a list of highlights and photos of the area that could be used on the Web site.

Photos of AuGres, as well as other cities along the Sunrise Coast, are now up on the Pure Michigan Web site, and any sort of business that attracts tourists (excluding chain restaurants and businesses) can have free space on the site as well.

“As we receive things, they’ll be part of it,” Killingbeck said about the participation of businesses across Arenac County.

Along with Killingbeck, three other people from the county attended the event. After the introduction of representatives from each county, the group got to hear from George Zimmerman, the vice president of Travel Michigan.

“I think Sunrise Coast is a powerful brand for you,” he said.

He also encouraged the group to use the label “Sunrise Coast” when talking to others about the region.

“That’s what’s going to attract visitors,” Zimmerman said, explaining how the coastline will be able to better attract visitors if it stays connected as one large region instead of trying to get tourists to one particular area.

“When the region gains, you all gain,” he said.

The Sunrise Coast will also get more recognition just by working with the employees of Travel Michigan, Zimmerman said.

“We’re just more connected with you,” he said, adding that the staff knows more about the area after working with residents and can share that information with others when they cross paths on a day-to-day basis.

By being a featured destination on, the region will also be exposed to the millions of visitors to the Web site.

“This (Pure Michigan) is the most popular state tourism Web site in the country,” Zimmerman said.

The site had 13 million visitors last year, and the number of visitors this year is already up by 7 percent compared to April 2009.

The 60-second radio spot for the Sunrise Coast follows the same formula as the other commercials in the Pure Michigan campaign. Tim Allen’s voice lends life to the wonders of a certain area of Michigan while music from the movie “The Cider House Rules” plays in the background.

“When he (Tim Allen) read this script, he knew what he was talking about,” Zimmerman said.

Allen, who grew up in Michigan, has lent his voice to the campaign since its beginnings in 2006. His involvement, along with the choice of music and the style of the commercials, is the work of McCann Erickson, an advertising agency with an office in Birmingham, which specifically handles the campaign.

“They’ve done an outstanding job,” Zimmerman said about the agency.

Zimmerman also said that he thinks the Pure Michigan campaign will one day be as popular as the “I Love New York” and “Virginia is for Lovers” state advertising campaigns.

The radio advertisement will be available on the Pure Michigan Facebook page in the next week and will also go up on the Web site soon.

“Congratulations to all of you for putting yourself on our map,” Zimmerman said to the audience.


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