By Nicole Lavery
When I think about the state of Mississippi, there are many words that come to mind, some being unique, beautiful, and Southern, but if I could describe Mississippi in one word, it would be controversial.
Mississippi is often criticized and judged based on people’s assumptions, rather than giving the state the recognition it deserves. After living and going to school in the state for almost a year, Mississippi holds a special place in my heart and has become a place I will call home and defend for the rest of my life because of its unique past and culture, which have made me fall in love with this place.
Today, even though we live in a country where everyone has equal rights, people still view this state as unequal. It is a fact that Mississippi is ranked 50th often in many categories, but that does not make it unequal.
Friends and family often criticized and questioned my decision to attend this university based on how the Mississippi education system is ranked out of the 50 states.
Everyone’s opinions and questions made me second guess my decision to come to Ole Miss. Would paying the out-of-state tuition really help me get the education I deserved to boost my skills for a job later in life.
I now know the doubt they instilled in me was incorrect. Yes, the education system may not be best, but I have learned more outside of the classroom that I can use as an advantage in the world after I leave.
The history of this place makes it beautiful and remarkable, which is what I wish more people realized. Unfortunately, the media does not help people’s perception of the state.
When Mississippi is in the media, I always feel like no matter the situation, it is shown in a negative light. Yes, I do agree that some parts of the state are exactly what they are cracked up to be, but people make perceptions and assumptions about it as a whole and fail to realize its significance.
After asking others and finding out how truthfully negative people’s feelings and thoughts towards the state of Mississippi really are, coming up with a marketing campaign to promote the state’s beauty and multi-layered culture could be more difficult than expected.
To reach the most people possible, I thought making a promotional video about the state as a marketing campaign could be the most effective type of campaign. This video could be posted on YouTube, Facebook, and several other social sites as a way to reach the most people possible. With the ability to share, like, and repost, the video could reach more people than any website, speech, or press release could spread.
My campaign’s name would be The Magic Behind Mississippi. The campaign’s purpose would be to focus on the positive aspects of Mississippi and what makes it so special. It would also address the negatives, but show how all these negatives make Mississippi unique, not a sad, poor place to live.
To execute this campaign, I would focus on the rich history of the state. Without the history of the state, there would be no culture. The video would include many people’s negative opinions, and then relay something positive.
I would have interviews with residents and non-residents of Mississippi to make the video more diverse and non-biased. They would also include those of all ages to make the video relatable.
Since this campaign would try to appeal to all ages on some of the largest social media platforms, I would try to make it effective enough to gain news attention.
As for the results of this campaign, I have high hopes for it. My end result for the campaign would be for it to reach multiple states and receive national attention. I feel like the video would get my message across fairly easily.
If I could do anything differently for the marketing campaign, I would make a series of videos instead of just one. In the series, each video would focus on one specific topic of discussion and go into detail about its topic.
The video series would then be posted in the same way as the singular promotion video for the state was, except the videos would be released in increments to keep people watching and give them more time to like, post and share.
If I had more time to create this marketing campaign, I hope it would reach masses and others outside of Mississippi, and that is its purpose – to change people’s perceptions who do not live here to inform them what is so special about the state. To reach statewide, I think I have the right idea about using large social media platforms to spread the videos to masses of people.
From this project, I reiterate that people’s perceptions of Mississippi are more negative than I realized. This project has taught me that if more people backed this state, and it received the credit it deserved, it could really be more respected.