|Michigan Governor Imposes/Rescinds Ad Ban On April 24, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) issued an Executive Order that among other things, rescinded the advertising ban included in a previous order. The previous Executive Order addressing the COVID-19 crisis in her state sparked a well-covered protest because of the stay-at-home provisions included in the order. The order also included language that impacted advertising.
Specifically, the order prohibited stores with more than 50,000 square feet “from the advertising or promotion of goods that are not groceries, medical supplies, or items that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and basic operation of residences.” It also stated, “No one shall advertise or rent a short-term vacation property except as necessary to assist in housing a health care professional or volunteer aiding in the response to the COVID-19 crisis.”
While well intentioned, the necessity for these advertising restrictions was questionable, but the potential for harm to local media—an important source of local news and information—was not. AAF President & CEO, Steve Pacheco wrote to the Governor asking her to rescind the advertising restrictions in the order. AAF also joined our industry allies in calling on the Governor to rescind the restrictions. Finally, we also urged each of the Michigan advertising federations to contact Governor Whitmer.
The Governor did not state her reasons for not including the ad ban in the new order, but it is reasonable to suspect that the industry protests may have played a role.