‘Pure Michigan’ campaign under fire as water crisis worsens

Attorneys for hundreds of residents with contaminated drinking water have filed suit against Michigan’s governor. Social media users weigh in on the state’s juxtaposing marketing strategy.

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As scrutiny surrounding the lead contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, increased this week, PR pros took to social media to express dismay at the state’s seemingly tone-deaf continuation of its “Pure Michigan” tourism campaign.

The state’s $33 million marketing campaign to bolster summer tourism is in its 10th year. Numerous sleek images and sharp videos promote “fresh enchanting rivers, lakes and waters” and invite travelers to hotels and campsites in the state.

A little lead contamination hasn’t stopped David Lorenz, vice president of the state’s tourism department, from offering his own take on the matter. He recently told a reporter from MLive.com:

People seem to be seeing Pure Michigan as separate from the Flint issue and actually, that’s a great indicator of a strong brand. People will give you some slack, they understand that nothing is perfect and they know everything won’t go perfectly well all the time.

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