By Kamden Darney
Mississippi is a state with a troubled history filled with racism, segregation, and hate. Being from California, I generally had the same views about Mississippi. I believed the state and its residents were all stuck in the past, completely content with “the way things were.”
My perception of Mississippi really changed when I visited my sister at Ole Miss. I had never seen such a beautiful campus, with people from all around the world. I had conversations with my sister’s friends from Mississippi, and they were just like me.
This is the moment I realized Mississippi is an amazing place the rest of America knows nothing about. People only saw the bad parts of Mississippi and seemed to ignore the strides Mississippi and its residents were making to diversify the population.
These impressions of Mississippi across America could not be more wrong. It is a state trying to change its perception, showing that residents are not opposed to changing times and are willing to include people of every race, color and creed in their life.
Mississippi is still far from perfect, though, due in part, because of the negative perception across America. If a marketing campaign was released across the United States showing Mississippi’s diversity and beautiful landscapes, maybe perceptions will change across the nation.
It is tough to change one’s perception and thoughts about something without actually experiencing it, so the key would be to “plant a seed” in the viewers’ minds about what Mississippi is, hoping they will spread the message to others.
This marketing campaign is tough due to the lingering perceptions of Mississippi across the nation. The key is to have a mass presence on social media and television.
The goal is to change the way most Americans perceive the state and its residents. The way I would execute this is making a video of native Mississippians stating truths about the past, but emphasizing how it is the past.
The goal would be to show the amazing leaps and bounds made by every race in Mississippi, and how Mississippians are not all white racists who hate the changing times. The name of the marketing campaign would be Mississippi: More than Just a Page in Your History Book.
A social media site would be the best way to broadcast these videos. Most Americans have social media, so a page that takes out advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. would be the best way to go.
If an advertisement like this is on a person’s news feed, there is a chance it will strike a chord with at least a few viewers. These viewers will be interested in the video they saw of a Mississippi native making strides to erase the segregation-filled past of Mississippi.
They will like and comment what they think, and it will start a chain reaction from their friends to others, and so forth. The key would be to get the viewer thinking that maybe their perception of Mississippi is wrong and there is plenty of diversity across the state.
These videos would focus on native Mississippians doing amazing things. They could include a scientist making strides to find the cure for cancer or Mississippi school students volunteering their time to better their community.
The website will feature videos and stories of Mississippi natives that focus on diversifying and bettering the society they live in. The viewers will see these videos and stories and spread the word.
The key to advancing this campaign would be to take out television ads, newspaper articles, and have a monthly magazine filled with stories about amazing Mississippians.
With enough time and energy spent on this project, perceptions of the state would start to change drastically. Many viewers would be touched by things they saw, and end up like I was after I visited Ole Miss.
Americans will realize their perceptions of Mississippi are surprisingly inaccurate and residents are just like them. I think the more platforms this marketing campaign reaches, the more popular it will become.
With more people seeing the campaign, attitudes toward Mississippi will change, showing viewers that Mississippi is more than just a page in their history book.