By Mackenzie Brinson
Mississippi, the state that has the lowest life expectancy, the highest obesity rate, and the highest poverty rate, once thrived on cash crops and blues music. A place full of culture and soul has sadly been diminished to the worst state in America.
“Mississippi the Beautiful” has now plummeted to “Mississippi the Dying.” Or is that only the perception of an outsider?
Mississippi is a place I have called home for 18 plus years. It is a place that has shown me love, and I show it love. It has shaped my beliefs, advanced my understanding of music, and taught me how to enjoy Southern cooking and value relationships and hospitality.
William Faulkner once said, “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.” Though we might seem small, we are mighty. We are inventive. Without Mississippi, music, literature, medicine, and even catfish would not be what it is today.
Each year Oxford, Mississippi has an arts and music festival known as Double Decker. Here local musicians are publicized, and art is sold. I would create a campaign tied to Double Decker.
Double Decker helps capture the richness of Mississippi. People gather in fellowship, enjoying music and relaxing while they sip their drinks. Sixty-five percent of people are known to be visual learners.
Therefore, I would create a video showcasing Mississippians. Videos can inspire and empower us to take action. To execute the video, I would fast play through it, giving viewers a glimpse. Then, I would start it from the top.
After that, I would take sound bits of different, diverse people, describing why Mississippi is home to them, what makes them love it the way they do, leading people to see Mississippi’s true beauty and rawness.
I would use social media. Ads on Facebook, Instagram, etc. are low in cost compared to other forms of advertising. Social media platforms also have the ability to target certain audiences, making your campaign even more effective. This approach could lead others to write press releases and blog post about our new Mississippi campaign.
In the future, we could produce a “mini-series” of Mississippi videos to showcase even more sides of the state. This series would include six parts, including Oxford, Jackson, the Delta, Natchez and Vicksburg.
We could bring in the rich history of the Civil War, the beauty of cash crops, the birth of blues, the once thriving economy of Jackson, and the diversity that our hometown, Oxford, brings.
One thing this campaign has taught me is, “There is more than meets the eye.” Mississippi is often perceived to be the lowest of the lows, but if our state could talk, it would tell us people’s perceptions are not always right.
Of course, Mississippi has its issues, as does every place. We may be a little crooked and have a couple hump backs, but that’s what makes us us.