DETROIT: The Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau has decided to turn lemons into lemonade.
Rapper Eminem's new movie 8 Mile depicts gritty ghetto life in the Motor City, not exactly the side of urban life most cities want to showcase.
But rather than pan the film, the Detroit bureau is using the media attention it's generated to talk about Detroit's positives.
The bureau has already contacted national and regional media to talk about Detroit's long musical heritage, garnering coverage in the Chicago Tribune.
It's also reaching out to the film industry, using the movie as an example of how successful films can be made in Detroit.
That theme will continue in a planned image campaign the bureau will launch next year, said Renee Monforton, director of communications.
In addition to rap, Monforton said, gospel, techno rock, jazz, blues, and, of course, the Motown sound all have Detroit ties.
"The film gives us an opportunity," she said. "We know 8 Mile has caught the attention of a lot of national news shows. We want to use that to talk about Detroit's musical heritage."
Monforton admitted not all the attention 8 Mile has generated has been positive for Detroit.
"There's been national media reports that said this is what Detroit looks like, which is untrue," she said. "The movie was never intended to be a marketing piece for Detroit. It's a small piece of urban life that exists in every city."
The bureau had already targeted the film industry to attract more productions to Detroit, and will continue those efforts, perhaps again using 8 Mile as an example when Oscar time rolls around next year.