“Made in Tennessee” message crafted by Missouri company

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An ad campaign called “Made in Tennessee” wasn’t made in Tennessee.

“It’s just a little bit ironic,” Kevin Miller, a partner at Specialty Advertising based in Memphis, joked.

You may have seen the videos online or on TV. They’re meant to entice tourists to the state, with the Made in Tennessee message. But the company who made this idea come together is actually based in Missouri.

Miller has some questions for the state.

“The goal of this campaign is to bring visitors here, and increase revenue for the state. You’re sending $60 million of it out of state to Missouri, really? “

Signature Advertising handles ad campaigns for Memphis based FedEx and International Paper, but that wasn’t enough to even get asked to create a Made in Tennessee campaign.

The state asked 39 companies to submit ideas, but couldn’t tell WREG how many proposals came from out of state.  We do know two Nashville-based companies made it to the final round, but VML out of Kansas City won the five-year, $60 million deal.

The company did open a Nashville office, with four full-time staff members.

Kevin Kane is the President and CEO of the Memphis Convention and Visitor Bureau.  He helped select VML,but defends the choice and said Memphis’ voice will be heard.

Kane said, “We have a number of people from Memphis that are on the marketing committee that is working hand int hand with this company to craft the Made in Tennessee message.”

The first round of videos highlight the Eastern part of the state’s natural beauty, and the next round is focused on the state’s musical culture.

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