By Emily Reynolds
Before I began my freshman year at the University of Mississippi, I never really thought about Mississippi. Living in a state seven hours away the majority of my life, I had no idea how much different living in Mississippi would be.
Almost two years later, with my sophomore year coming to an end, I still encounter jokes of stereotypes and perceptions that people throw around about Mississippi.
When I first became familiar with Mississippi, I heard different perceptions and developed some of my own. Mississippi can easily be seen as a very superficial state, or one-dimensional. Certain common aspects and ideals circulate Mississippi easily.
People tend to believe Mississippians, especially Ole Miss and Mississippi State students, only care about football, beer, partying and Jesus. Don’t worry, if that made you laugh a little; me too. Ironically, yes, those aspects can easily be said for any Southern state, but Mississippi is known as one of the most Southern.
To be more specific, Mississippi continually ranks low for heath, income, education, and social justice. Mississippi is known by some as one of the most obese, illiterate and racist states in America. Although facts do not lie, this does not represent all of Mississippi.
Despite the fact that these rankings are so negative and shed an unpleasing light on Mississippi, it is very hard for people to look past these overarching problems.
A marketing campaign is a strategy of promoting a product or idea through different types of media, including television, radio, print, and different online platforms. Marketing campaigns do not have to rely solely on advertising. They can promote ideas, demonstrate attitudes, and advocate for change.
To help redefine and polish Mississippi, a marketing campaign could help turn around all these false and negative perceptions of Mississippi.
My campaign is called Shed A Light. It will take all the commonly known perceptions of Mississippi and show the public the other side of them.
Even though some perceptions might be true, they could be outdated. The campaign will show the progress Mississippi is making and things the public might not usually see about Mississippi.
To execute this campaign, I will incorporate photo-journalism and use a photo blog to capture photographs around Mississippi that represent the community, life, people, characteristics and progression Mississippi is and making.
I will use social media, such as Instagram or VSCO, as it is the fastest growing media platform. People across the world will be shown a perspective and view of Mississippi they haven’t seen. It will be an inside look.
As this campaign begins to grow and develop, I plan to take submissions. This way, many Mississippians’ voices and perspectives will be heard. This campaign will immensely Shed A Light on Mississippi.
I asked friends, family, and other Ole Miss students for their input. To help further my mission’s research, I created a draft of the campaign and the media platform. That way people could have a close representation and see a physical example of what Shed A Light would be and look like.
The more feedback I received, the more excited and confident I became about Shed A Light. People reacted positively to the idea and wanted to know more. They understood my frustration with Mississippi, and the misconceptions that surrounded our state. They too felt it was necessary to help Mississippi create something that could begin to rebuild its reputation.
Creating the basis of Shed A Light really made me think more about our state’s perceptions. This project helped me put into perspective what I truly think of Mississippi, and take into account what others think and believe as well.
This campaign helped me understand the good and bad of Mississippi. It was really important to keep in mind that not all states are perfect, and every person in each state has something to work on.
And who knows? If my marketing campaign becomes successful, in the future, it could be developed for more states than Mississippi.