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Russian history lesson delivered first-hand at NESCom

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BANGOR - The New England School of Communications recently gave its students a rare opportunity to hear first-hand how advertising and public relations are conducted in Russia. The Bangor college welcomed Dr. Alexey Mikhailov, head of the Department of Public Relations for the Siberian State Aerospace University (SibSAU) in Krasnoyarsk, Russia to the campus last week, where he visited with students, NESCom & Husson University officials, and various media outlets in the area.

"I've already seen there are no billboards in the streets or near the roads. In Russia there are a lot of billboards everywhere," said Mikhailov.

While visiting Maine, Dr. Mikhailov was accompanied by his 19-year-old interpreter, Tatiana Demenishina, who is also a student of SibSAU.

"I'm impressed with how much advertising is included on American TV. It is fantastic. Only 10 percent of advertising is on TV in Russia," he said. "For example, there's only about 1,634 organizations in our region that advertise on TV."

Mikhailov told the students that advertisements started popping up in his country just in the last 22 years, after Russia was no longer under Soviet Union control. As a public relations expert, he often has to explain to businesses why they should advertise.

"Our aim is to explain why it costs so much, but how effective the advertisements can be," he said. "A good ad in Russia should not be directed to the brain but the emotions and soul."

And that trick of the trade is one piece of information that has stuck with student Andrew McQuinn.

"The way they go about advertising just seems so different than over here," he said. "I do like the idea of focusing on emotions versus the brain."

Since advertising and public relations is still relatively new in Russia, many students walked away from the classroom imagining how they could put their skills to use in that market.

"It makes the area [Russia] seem open to opportunity," said student Anthony Moffit.

NESCom and Husson are hoping this cultural exchange with Dr. Mikhailov may lead to future opportunities and global experiences for students in both Maine and Russia.

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