FREDERICKSBURG, VA: The US National Slavery Museum (USNSM) has selected Euro RSCG Magnet as its AOR for all publicity related to its opening, scheduled for October 2007.
Magnet's Washington office will handle media relations, community relations, fundraising, websites, and other PR activities. A team of six will work on the account, including one outside contractor who will handle web marketing initiatives.
The firm, which was awarded the contract on July 15, is already helping the museum gain visibility with corporate sponsors. It is also launching a campaign targeting teachers to help them plan field trips to the museum for 2007.
"The goal is to drive those school buses and field trips and get the tourism buses going there with larger groups," said Michael Smith, EVP and GM of Magnet's Washington office.
The museum, the brainchild of former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, will chronicle the plight of slaves from their homes in Africa, through the Middle Passage on slave ships, to the slave resistance movement in North America. It will be located about 50 miles south of Washington, DC, in Fredericksburg, VA.
"We chose Magnet because of their proven ability to launch historical sites in Virginia, like the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail," said USNSM executive director Vonita Foster. He also cited the agency's "fundraising experience with Virginia firms like AOL and Altria, and most importantly, their creative thinking and their zeal for the museum's mission."
Other firms that responded to the museum's national RFP included Lipman Hearne, a Chicago-based integrated shop, and Maryland-based Creative Strategy, which specializes in multicultural marketing.
Magnet's prior work on the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail caught the attention of current Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, a good friend of Wilder.
"That's how I think we had the ability to convert a previous case into something tangible for slavery," Smith said.
Magnet said it hopes to continue working on special events marketing after the museum opens in 2007. Smith noted that African-American cultural tourism generates tremendous revenue. The museum will cater to that market in various ways, including establishing a large genealogy department.
Magnet is expected to look at organizing a tie-in in 2007 with the 30th anniversary of the TV show Roots.