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A smart campaign does Mississippi proud

By Lewis Lazare
e-mail: llazare@suntimes.com
Chicago Sun-Times
Believe it! Mississippi is finally standing up for itself, and it’s about time. After decades of being viewed as one of the less enlightened, more backward states in the nation, Mississippi is front and center in a new advertising initiative designed to dispel all the wrongheaded myths and stereotypes that have hindered its efforts to move forward.
The campaign is called “Mississippi, Believe It!”, and it’s an impressive attempt to educate state residents and, more importantly, the world beyond about the real merits of Mississippi past and present. The campaign was initiated and developed by a Mississippi ad agency called Cirlot, which bills itself as one of the nation’s top three ad agencies specializing in the defense industry. Its clients have included Boeing, Northrup Grumman and Lockheed Martin, among others. This “Believe It!” campaign is said to be Cirlot’s way of giving something back to a state that has been so good to the agency and so in need of a good marketing effort.
Each of several print executions draws attention to the huge well of talent in a wide range of fields that has its roots in Mississippi. One print execution, for instance. carries the bold headline “Yes We Can Read. A Few of Us Can Even Write.” Beneath it are headshots of some of the famous literary types with Mississippi connections, including Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, Beth Henley and one of today’s most popular fiction writers, John Grisham.
Another ad with the headline “Yes We Wear Shoes. Some of Us Even Wear Cleats” makes a statement about Mississippi’s impressive contributions in the world of football, ranging from Brett Favre to Walter Payton. Yet another ad downplays monster trucks and hog-calling and plays up the lineup of world-class entertainers from Mississippi, ranging from country crooners LeAnn Rimes and Faith Hill to opera singer Leontyne Price, pop singer Brandy and, yes, the big “O” herself, Oprah.



Mississippi Believe It!