Lifestyle & Belief

Wisconsin mitten has Michigan residents up in arms


The Wisconsin-shaped mitten that's featured in the state's winter tourism ad campaign.


Wisconsin Department of Tourism

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism has co-opted an image – a state-shaped mitten – usually associated with Michigan to promote winter tourism in Wisconsin.

Still smarting from Michigan State's loss to the University of Wisconsin in the inaugural Big Ten football championship game on Dec. 3, it's no wonder Michigan residents have taken to Facebook and Twitter to give a thumbs-down to the ad campaign, which launched Dec. 1.

Michigan is shaped like two mittens, and residents often hold up a hand to point to where in the state they are from. (Detroit, for example, is below the thumb on the lower mitten.)

Wisconsin Department of Tourism spokeswoman Lisa Marshall told The Associated Press that her state was not trying to steal Michigan’s identity. "We're not the mitten state. Michigan, they can own that. We want to be known as the fun state," she said.

Marshall explained to the AP that the ad campaign is using different Wisconsin-shaped objects to symbolize tourism each season and the mitten makes sense for winter. In the fall, the department used a Wisconsin-shaped leaf, she said, and in the spring, the image will change again.

Michigan boosters weren’t buying it.

One person wrote on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Facebook page:

“Really? A mitten? You didn't realize that some other state already used that idea? Hmmm, which one could it be...”

Other Twitter and Facebook rants, collected by the Detroit Free Press:

“I think it's what their hands look like after all the frostbite.”

“We should tell Wisconsin they can be the mitten that got lost in the dryer. Or a sock.”

“Bullshit, Wisconsin. You get cheese. That's it.”

"We understand their mitten envy," Dave Lorenz, manager of public and industry relations for the state of Michigan, told the Kalamazoo Gazette, "but there is only one mitten state, only one Great Lakes state, there's only one Winter Wonderland state — only one, and it is Michigan."

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