PITTSBURGH: A major effort to focus attention on the French and Indian War - and encourage tourism in Pennsylvania in the process - will kick off April 17-18 with street banners, a newspaper insert, and the display of a rare George Washington manuscript.
Kelly & Salerno Communications, the agency working on the project, has sent out 1,200 media kits to drum up interest in the 250th anniversary of the start of the war. The agency is targeting Pittsburgh-area press to publicize the initial activities involved but also is reaching out to national arts, culture, and travel writers.
"On the national level we're really trying to reposition the French and Indian War as a key element of America's colonial history," said Karen Salerno, a partner in the firm.
The agency is working for French and Indian War 250, a group formed to promote the war's 250th anniversary as a means of spurring tourism in states that have battlefields and other sites involved in the war.
The Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce two and a half years ago hired Golin/Harris International to lay the groundwork for this year's events and to help with corporate and government fundraising and sponsorships.
Kelly & Salerno has convinced the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to run a four-page editorial insert on the war in its April 15 issue, a combination of paid and free space.
It's also worked with a local restaurant chain to create a children's history puzzle on the war that will appear as a gatefold on the Post-Gazette's Sunday comics section and be handed out to restaurant customers. Roughly 400,000 have been printed.
Pittsburgh magazine has agreed to devote a page a month to the war. The magazine is owned by the same entity that owns the Pittsburgh public television station that is making a television movie on the war.
Kelly & Salerno is offering media the opportunity to embed reporters with people training this spring to become re-enactors in the movie.
"Our role is to build interest and coverage culminating in the national broadcast of this film in the fall of 2005," said Salerno.