Thirteen parks. Nearly 25,000 acres. Trails, rivers, lakes and ponds, beaches, golf courses, nature centers, pools, tennis courts, equestrian facilities. The Huron-Clinton Metroparks have just about everything. And, now, a real brand marketing and communication platform.

The Metroparks have long been one of the quality-of-life jewels in Southeast Michigan. But over time, the world changed. Park systems found themselves competing for share of mind, share of time and share of wallet not just with other parks (state, county and local) but with a wide range of for-profit recreational offerings, from driving ranges like TopGolf to movie theaters to amusement parks. That’s why the Metroparks decided to put more emphasis than ever on reaching out to its audience . . . and why they hired Factory to create what turns out to be the first true marketing campaign in at least 20 years, most likely a lot more, possibly ever.

What did we do?

We started by focusing on a core message: They’re your Metroparks and we’re inviting you to come and enjoy them. We skip the lectures about how important parks are to society that too many park systems build into their messaging. Instead, we celebrate how wonderful these parks are. Literally every impression is a call-to-action, an invitation to visit, explore and enjoy one of America’s largest metropolitan park systems.

We created a fresh fun look and took (ourselves) a whole bunch of photography to immerse our audience in the gorgeous surroundings they’ll find very close to their homes. We wanted everything to look and feel like a place you’d really enjoy spending some quality – and quantity – time.

We created a piece of proprietary music (with the help of our friend, Shane Grush) and found ourselves a signature voice (the wonderfully talented Sidi Henderson) . . . tying together our TV and radio commercials.

We redesigned the brochures and signage to go with everything else. Because everything works harder when it goes together.

Finally, we created a new Metroparks logo. Something simpler, cleaner and harder working in today’s digital communication environment. And created a brand identity suite to go with it. Because the Metroparks creates so much communication throughout each year, we decided to broaden the color palette so we could use seasonally appropriate color combinations in any piece we produced.

Crafted by Shana Preuett and Izabela Skonieczka, the campaign launched in 2019. We’ve been through four rounds of television production – warm weather, autumn, winter and back to warm weather again, yielding almost a dozen commercials (so far) covering all the seasonal wonders so close to home.