By Marlene Middleton
Home to me is a 11-letter word: Mississippi. I have lived in Mississippi my entire life, and I have traveled everywhere near and far. Being away and having a change of scenery is nice, but coming home is nicer.
I grew up in a small town, Clarksdale, Mississippi that is cool enough to attract people from all over the world. Clarksdale is the birthplace of the blues. It’s where the Crossroads are, Muddy Water’s home, and so many other sites of important music history.
I was raised on blues music. My whole life has revolved around it, even after moving to Oxford. Just like Clarksdale, Oxford has a lot of history and music to offer.
Mississippi can be very set in its ways, but for the most part, Oxford has been progressive. Change is good, and change is growth. Being more inclusive of all types of people is crucial to overall community growth.
I’ve been to states up North where all they know about Mississippi are negative facts – racism, homophobia, high teen pregnancy rates, low academic rates, etc.
While all these things are going on in Mississippi, they happen in other states too. They talk about our “accents” and our service station food. They can’t believe the best chicken salad you’ll ever eat is sold in a gas station.
I do, however, think Mississippi could do a better job at being more progressive, or more accepting.
Mississippi is rich in culture, literature, music, food. We say “bless your heart” and “y’all,” and we always say grace before every meal. I think a lot of people just don’t know much about Mississippi.
There are so many things they could market to make it more informative, but you have to dig to find these cool things. I think we have a lot of diamonds in the rough, and there are better ways to make that publicly known.
My campaign would be called Marvelous Mississippi. The purpose is to show all the wonderful things Mississippi offers. I think we do a really good job of showing off our music history, but we could do better in other areas.
This campaign is directed at college students and marketed through social media. I would use soft colors like aqua and seafoam to create a watercolor logo in the shape of Mississippi, and use a handwritten cursive font.
I would create a blog, and content would include food, music and fashion. I think it is important to go many places in Mississippi and document these experiences, so the person reading the blog can see how many hidden things Mississippi offers.
A second trendy thing is using geo-filters on Snapchat. I’m not sure why, but they are my favorite part about Snapchat. Everywhere I’ve been has some pretty cool geo-filters, but I haven’t really been impressed with the ones here. I think that’s really important when reaching people our age. The geo-filter can be interactive with whatever the town has to offer.
The people I presented the idea too agreed that Mississippi could be better marketed. They also believe there should be more marketing done with the younger social media generation in mind.
What I learned from this is that my state is unique. Even though we have a past that isn’t so great, we should market the great things about Mississippi.
There are a lot of people who think very general stereotypes about my state, and I think the only way to counter that is to put an appealing new spin on how we market it.