The branding, marketing and publicity of the Tina Turner Museum grand opening in Brownsville, TN.

About The Tina Turner Museum

In January 1889, Benjamin Brown Flagg sold one acre of land to a group of Trustees charged with the task of building Flagg Grove School. From that time until the late 1960s, the school served African-American students in the northwest portion of Haywood County, Tennessee, just west of Nutbush. Many students attended, and have left a mark on their communities and the world, but none as much as Anna Mae Bullock… commonly known by her stage name: Tina Turner.

When Flagg Grove School was closed in the late 1960s, it was used as a barn and corn crib until being moved to the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, Tennessee in 2012. Since that time restoration efforts were made to restore the structure and open the school as an interpretive center for early African-American education and to honor the heritage and legacy of its former students.

In January 2014, Tina announced her contributions to the project, including a financial donation and memorabilia from her career, including a collection of costumes, gold records and more.

Enter: PLA Media

PLA Media was referred to The Tina Turner Museum by the Tennessee Department of Tourism for our extensive work with the Johnny Cash Museum. Our first task was to compose a press release to announce the grand opening, and immediately went to work to build the opening ceremonies.

What We Did

With a personality like Tina, it was important for us to establish the power of her impact via commentary from various celebrities. Our office solicited her peers and acquired video from ABC Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, Melissa Etheridge, Heart, The Beach Boys, The Oak Ridge Boys and The Impressions. Those videos became an anchor point in the ceremonies and were used to garner additional attention on the press release.


One challenge we faced was that the museum had no definitive logo. The school itself has a sign bearing its name, and the Delta Heritage Center (where the museum resides) has it’s own logo; however, the museum had no brand identity distinguishing it as it’s own entity. Before getting to work on graphics, print materials and other promotional items, we needed to develop a logo.

Tina Pass

The Press Conference

To execute the press conference efficiently, we had to not only tell the story of Tina, but educate and restore the historical value of this structure.

Tina herself provided our office with a video telling the story behind the exhibit and the building. To tell the story even further, we built in conversations with the Rhonda Graam (Tina’s personal assistant for more than 50 years), Elle Denneman (Tina’s Fan Club President), and Jim Fifield (President of EMI Music World Wide from 1988-1998).

To preserve the heritage of the structure, we involved many special guests: Murrel Syler spoke on behalf of the founding Flagg family; Lollie Mann (a former student) commented on a typical day in the school and sang a devotional she remembered singing in the building; and MTSU Professor Dr. Van West discussed the impact that this school had on the African American community. In addition, TN Department of Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker and Brownsville Mayor Bill Rawls examined the impact this museum will have on the local and statewide tourism.

The space where the ceremony was held quickly became standing room only as nearly 300 packed the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. Even more monumental was the press that not only attended, but covered the story once the press release and images of the museum were distributed that day.

PLA provided an exclusive to the Associated Press to post the initial story the morning of September 26, 2014. Some of the top outlets that covered the opening include: ABC News, Africa News Network, Chicago Tribune, Examiner, Fox News, Southern Living, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, MSN News, New York Times and Yahoo News

The Result

In 72 hours after the Grand Opening, we saw over 485.4 million impressions on The Tina Turner Museum. Since the grand opening, the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center has seen over 10,000 visitors.

Overall, the launch served as a milestone for this community and for the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. It connected this town of 10,000 citizens into the global community, reinvigorated the community to take pride in its heritage and Anna Mae Bullock’s story of perseverance and success is one to be celebrated for years to come.

“PLA Media has proven that they are simply the best! The grand opening of The Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove School was a total success, and I couldn’t image pulling this off without them. We won nine awards at The Tennessee Association of Museums Conference in 2015, including Best PR Kit! I am so grateful for their help in impacting the region.”

Sonia Outlaw-Clark
  Executive Director, Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove School, West TN Delta Heritage Center