By Amanda Haley
Before moving to Oxford, I have lived all of my life in the suburbs of Atlanta. This meant any food or business I could ever want, traffic always, and vacant land was far and few.
Mississippi is quite the opposite, which is why every Ole Miss student has heard the words, “Why Mississippi?” one too many times. In the eyes of many outsiders, the state is perceived in two common ways – “Nothing but land” and “racist.”
Neither of these opinions I can blame, as the state of Mississippi is portrayed that exact way in the media.
The “nothing but land” comment does apply, but I appreciate that there is more open land than buildings. Granted, for the past three years, I’ve had a limited number of food options and have been forced to deal with the lack of affordable shopping. Neither are necessary.
Some of us know nothing but crowds, so moving to a completely different area is so enjoyable and intriguing.
Mississippi is a state full of “islands” with only a small town or two every several miles. Getting to a town like Oxford is about as boring as it gets. Staring at a straight highway and grassland will put anyone to sleep. But the feeling of getting to the small Southern town and seeing all of the beautiful homes and historical monuments is what makes me appreciate where I live now.
The “racist” comment is usually fueled by someone unaware of the changes the South has made since the Civil War era. Just like several other states, Mississippi’s past seems to not be forgotten. I think this is because those who are educated outside of the state are not taught anything about Mississippi except several important historical events. The strength of the era that divided the races was so effective in Mississippi, there is an automatic link to that part of history. People fail to realize the beauty and change that has been made, instead assuming it is still the same.
The most important thing about Mississippi is that you must spend a decent amount of time here before truly understanding why we love it. No words or pictures could describe what this state holds.
Just Visit is the name of my marketing campaign. Because the people of Mississippi understand the beauty, this campaign focuses on people who live anywhere but here.
Related to Nike’s Just Do It, Just Visit urges people to give the state a shot and spend time here to acquire an appreciation. This campaign’s general goal is to attract more visitors and clear misunderstandings regarding Mississippi’s reputation.
The campaign is primarily run through Facebook, where people can share personal experiences about the state to spread the movement and get people talking. Social media is the best source of marketing, because people like to hear what the average person’s opinion is, and Facebook is a relevant platform for opinions.
Everyone may share their favorite thing about the state, things to do in the state, and pictures and background information. For people who have never been, the page will tell them everything great about Mississippi. They can also post questions.
The logo for the campaign is bold, blue letters “Just Visit” on a white background. The U in the phrase will be an outline of the state filled with several symbols that represent Mississippi.
My idea is to get the logo floating around social media. Sweatshirts, stickers, T-shirts, hats, key chains, and several other apparel and merchandise will be designed using the logo.
I want the campaign to simply get the point across, which is why the logo is used repetitively. Mississippi seems to be forgotten, and once the people in and out of the state start talking about it, the message will spread.
Being from another state gave me an advantage in this campaign because my social media audience is about half people from Georgia, who have never visited, and half people from Mississippi and many other places who decided to move here. I feel like my campaign could be effective with more time and capabilities to create the merchandise.
In general, I learned that people tend to love where they call home. It may take time and getting used to, but regardless of assumptions, there is nothing like home sweet home.