PHOENIX: McMurry, a marketing and communications agency, has been hired to promote tourism and business development along a 435-mile highway linking Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia.
The campaign for the Russian Heritage Highway Foundation kicked off on March 21, when former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev appeared at a fundraiser at the Lake Las Vegas Resort in Henderson, NV, to introduce the project to US business leaders.
In December, Gorbachev signed off on advertising materials that McMurry devised.
The route, Russia 10, passes through the historic Tver and Veliky Novgorod regions. Sites along it include birthplaces, academies, residences, principal performance venues, and the final resting places of dozens of cultural icons like Tchaikovsky, Dostoevsky, Rachmaninov, Pushkin, Chekhov, Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky, Tolstoy, and Nabokov.
The agency said the campaign would be similar to those promo- ting the historic Route 66, which stretches from Chicago to LA.
Katherine de Tristan, director of PR for McMurry, is leading all PR and media relations for the project. De Tristan said she will be targeting international press for both tourism and business. The tourism pitch is that there is so much history and culture there. On the business side, the attraction is that the highway presents so much opportunity.
"Everything needs to be put in there - 7-Elevens, casinos, hotels," de Tristan said.
She said a kick-off event will be held in Moscow, hopefully this year. She declined to say how much the account is worth.
The Russian Heritage Highway Foundation was conceived by Thomas Tait, former CEO of the Nevada Commission on Tourism, when he traveled along the highway on a trip to Russia about two years ago and realized the many possibilities.