It seems like every article on Detroit lately has to mention how lousy the city is. Terms like “America’s Baghdad” and the “nation’s poorest” punctuate most business stories concerning Super Bowl XL’s host. It’s a shame, since Detroit leadership missed a golden opportunity to reshape the image of the Motor City.You’re probably thinking, “Ronn Torossian, tell us what you would have done,” so I will. As soon as Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and the City Council learned that they were hosting the Super Bowl, they should have launched a comprehensive PR campaign that touted the strengths and cultural attractions of the city.

Off the top of my head at 5WPR:

  • Remind the public of Motown Greats like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and more.
  • Discuss how Detroit is the cradle of the American Automobile industry.
  • Discuss the Detroit Regional Economic Partnership – an innovative public and private sector effort to revitalize the city’s commerce and industry.

What if they put trained spokespersons in front of business, entertainment and travel reporters? Hosted special events and conferences that drew decision makers from other states? Engineered in-depth feature articles on how the city is struggling to improve itself through inventive means? Recruited a well- liked Motown singer to give back to the city through a series of televised or pay-per-view concerts?

Imagine a Public Relations campaign similar to the above; one which culminated with this weekend’s Super Bowl. Missed opportunities are painful to behold.


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