UPDATED: Travel Wisconsin annoys Michigan

Mike Paulus

As you may have heard, Travel Wisconsin's been busy pissing off the lower half of Michigan by using a Wisconsin-shaped mitten in their winter tourism campaign. See, like Wisconsin, the bottom part of Michigan is also kind of vaguely shaped like a mitten, and Michiganites (Michiganders? Michigonians? Michiganese?) living in that part of the state have long identified themselves with mittens. So they are not happy with us.

In Michigan's defense, this exists.
In Michigan's defense, this exists.

There’s been plenty of coverage about this over the past week, but none better than national news and pop culture blog Gawker:

A website called Awesome Mitten first noticed and tweeted their outrage to their followers, and an all-out social media war has ensued.

Here then is just a sampling of the irate messages being left on Travel Wisconsin's Facebook fan page:

• "Elephant man lost his mittens... What naughty kittens!"
• "Michigan is The Mitten and has been for YEARS. Not cool, guys. Not cool at all."
• "First you steal our Rose Bowl, now this?"
• "This is bull crap, Wisc. Find some other item that Wisconsin looks like and make it your own. Don't steal."

Gawker.com, 12-7-11

A spokeswoman from Travel Wisconsin told Gawker, "We're not the Mitten State. Michigan, they can own that. We want to be known as the Fun State." We’d rather not speak ill of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, as it now (unfortunately) includes the Wisconsin Arts Board, but “the Fun State?” Thanks for really cutting through the vague marketing bull-honky and capturing the soul of our great state.

By the way, as The Onion’s AV Club was quick to point out, back in 2009 when they changed the state slogan to “Live Like You Mean It,” Travel Wisconsin was unknowingly ripping off pre-existing marketing campaigns, including one for Bacardi rum.

That said, I kind of like the mitten, no matter what the Michiganese have to say about it.

UPDATED 12-12-11: Well, now there's this. Classy ...

The Great Lakes Mitten Campaign

There sure has been a lot of excitement surrounding our Wisconsin-shaped mitten. So we’re having fun with it… for a good cause! 

After all, Wisconsin and Michigan have a shared enemy: the cold of Midwest winters. So, we’re teaming up with our friends at Pure Michigan to collect mittens for those in need. We encourage everyone in both states to shake hands and come together for this great cause.  To donate in Wisconsin, head on down to one of the many Welcome Centers, participating Chamber of Commerce, or Convention and Visitors Bureaus through January 15th 2012, to donate new or gently used mittens. 

All mittens will be donated to local charities.  Participating mitten drop off sites include ...

– Read more at TravelWisconsin.com