SIMI VALLEY, CA: The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation (RRPF) launched a two-year multifaceted campaign, promoting the legacy of the former president who passed away in 2004.
Reagan's 100th birthday is February 6, 2011.
General Electric, which is a corporate sponsor for the campaign, donated $10 million for advertising and promotion and an additional $5 million for the GE-Reagan Scholars Program."Ronald Reagan, to this day, in all public opinion surveys, routinely comes up as one of the most, if not the most, admired presidents," said John Heubusch, executive director of RRPF. "This centennial celebration is going to be an opportunity for all of those people to participate and celebrate in his legacy."
While the target audience for the "Reagan Centennial Legacy" campaign is the American public, Heubusch said the long-term strategy includes educating a younger generation of Americans about Reagan.
"Ronald Reagan's time as GE's spokesperson was the first time GE presented a consistent brand identity that brought us into peoples' homes," said Gary Sheffer, VP of communications and public affairs for GE, in a statement. "The sponsorship of Ronald Reagan's Centennial Celebration is an unique opportunity to honor one of our employees' contributions to our company and the world while also celebrating the message of progress and optimism."The campaign will include a series of public affairs lectures held at the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Library & Museum in Simi Valley, CA, and at sites across the country. Additionally, a "Reagan Torch of Freedom" will make an Olympic Torch-like trek from the library to Washington in February 2011.
Online, RRPF launched a comprehensive Web site about Reagan, which includes his speeches, commentary from his speechwriters, and notes from his calendar and diaries.
"The Web site itself is quite muscular; however, we've also built on social networking sites around that site, having a Twitter page, a Facebook page, a YouTube channel," Heubusch said. The social media pages tie into ReaganCentennial.com, the campaign's microsite.
The foundation plans to target national and local media around the anniversary and the events. It is also working with the US Postal Service on a commemorative stamp.
"Our mission is about two things, both preserving President Reagan's legacy, as well as promoting it," Heubusch said. "We can preserve it all day long here at the museum, but promotion of it is different, going beyond the bounds of those who might have known the president from his days in the White House, and educating, especially young people, as to the importance of who the man was."
Heubusch said that contracts with three or four boutique PR agencies to support various elements of the campaign were still being finalized.