is Mississippi, Believe It!™?
Mississippi, Believe It!™ is a public service campaign designed
to inform and educate the citizens of Mississippi, as well as the
rest of the country, about the wonderful people, aspects and facts
associated with the state of Mississippi.
The Campaign includes 17
public service announcements – 11
original ads plus three ads debuted in late 2006 and three ads
debuted in 2008 – created to run in both newspapers and magazines.
A full set of the Mississippi, Believe It!™ posters will
be sent to every public and private K-12 school and every college
and university in the state this year. The campaign also includes
a website that houses the posters in a downloadable format, as
well as links to other sites which list little-known facts about
the state. The campaign was recently featured in The
New York Times,
U.S. News & World Report, and the International
Who created the Mississippi,
Believe It!™ Campaign?
The Mississippi, Believe It!™ Campaign was designed by The
Cirlot Agency, a Mississippi-based, full-service, marketing, public
relations and corporate communications firm. They are known throughout
the nation as one of the top three advertising agencies in the
defense industry, boasting such clients as Northrop Grumman, Raytheon,
Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to name a few. The Agency, which is
celebrating its 24th year in business this year, created the communication
pieces as a gift to Mississippi in an effort to thank the state
for supporting its business for over two decades.
How did The Cirlot
Agency reach its decision to create the Mississippi,
Believe It!™ Campaign?
A conversation between a 12 year-old boy from Connecticut who asked
the Mississippi businessman sitting next to him on an airplane
if the businessman, “still saw the KKK on the streets every
day” … and whether or not he “hates all black
people” was all the motivation the businessman needed. This
stunning revelation was the catalyst to the businessman fighting
back against the erroneous stereotypes that plague Mississippi.
After months of research and numerous meetings with prominent citizens
across the state, the businessman, who happened to be the COO of
The Cirlot Agency, determined that the first step in changing Mississippi’s
perception was to change that of its own citizens.
The Cirlot Agency’s intention was to present this Campaign
to the state as a gift. The Agency has made a conscious decision – and
is, in fact, very adamant – that the announcements and posters
not bear the logo of either The Cirlot Agency or that of Service
Printers of Flowood, MS, who graciously supplied all the paper
for and printed over 50,000 posters, pro bono.
How were the Mississippi,
Believe It!™ public
service announcements distributed?
In 2005, within the state of Mississippi, the announcements were
sent to select newspapers, magazines and trade publications, along
with the Associated Press and other wire services. Television stations,
Mississippi Public Broadcasting and university and college publications
also received the campaign. The posters were sent to all public
and private K-12 schools and every college and university in the
state to be displayed throughout the schools.
Outside the state of Mississippi, the announcements were sent
to the nation’s top 100 daily newspapers, top consumer websites,
and the top news, travel, business and economic magazines. They
were also sent to national talk shows and broadcast news outlets
with Mississippi ties, such as to FOX News Channel’s Shepard
Smith and ABC’s Robin Roberts. Additional posters were made
available to national events with Mississippi ties, such as the
Mississippi Picnic held annually in New York City.
In 2008, the process is being repeated. The sets of 17 posters
are being sent to all public and private K-12 schools and every
college and university in the state, as well as state and national
Why send the Mississippi,
Believe It!™ posters
Through an agreement with the Mississippi Department of Education,
The Cirlot Agency has distributed a full set of the Mississippi,
Believe It!™ posters to every school in the state and will
do so again this year. Service Printers of Flowood, MS, donated
all the paper and printing for over 50,000 posters.
The Cirlot Agency
believes it is important for the children of Mississippi to be
aware of the facts about the state – including
the people, accomplishments, capabilities and positive history – so
that they will be proud of their home state and its heritage. By
informing children of the many good things about the state, they
will become “homegrown” ambassadors for the state.
It is also important that the children of Mississippi know that
they can aspire to be anything they want to be – as evidenced
in the state’s innumerable success stories.
What does Mississippi,
Believe It!™ mean
for economic development?
Every economic development authority, convention and visitors bureau,
city, county, professional association, private business, etc.,
in Mississippi could benefit economically if the misconceptions
could be changed. The Cirlot Agency’s vision would be for
the aforementioned to include aspects of the Mississippi,
Believe It!™ Campaign in their daily business. For example, the
public service announcements can be used as hot links on websites
or homepages to dispel myths and create awareness of Mississippi.
will the ads benefit businesses?
As a business, The Cirlot Agency has, as have many other Mississippi
businesses, faced discrimination based solely on location. Some
outside the state question Mississippi businesses’ ability
to deliver quality work, as well as their overall intelligence,
in general. Mississippi’s businesses are unfairly saddled
with a burden that other businesses across the country rarely
have to overcome. Although Mississippi has progressed perhaps
more than any other state over the last 50 years, Mississippi
is stuck in a 50-year time warp, as far as image is concerned.
Many people have an incorrect perception of Mississippi. This
campaign is designed to help combat this misconception by demonstrating
that there are many positive things about Mississippi that the
public may not know. Through www.mississippibelieveit.com, Mississippi’s
businesses will be able to print the posters and include them in
their business proposals in order to help “sell” their
What is asked of the community?
Throughout the 191 years of Mississippi’s statehood, untold
numbers of the state’s citizens have made marvelous medical
advances, entertained the masses, invented products that do everything
from make lives better to improve space travel … and that’s
just to name a few of the state’s successes. But all too
often, Mississippi is only thought of regarding a short period
in her history in which civil rights atrocities took place. In
many parts of the country, this is all Mississippi is known for … and,
unfortunately, this negative perception has greatly affected how
Mississippi’s own citizens view their state.
Until Mississippi’s own citizens are proud of the successes,
the rest of the country cannot be expected to change their perceptions
about Mississippi. Therefore, The Cirlot Agency asked newspapers
across the state to donate space, as they have donated time and
resources, to help educate people and share positive information
about Mississippi. The ultimate goal is to create “citizen
ambassadors” for the state. As such, it is the Agency’s
hope that these “citizen ambassadors” would visit the
website, www.mississippibelieveit.com, download the posters and
email them from coast to coast. If it can be done with the “joke
of the day,” so it can be done to help the state. This type
of “viral marketing” is being used every day for much
less important ventures, so The Cirlot Agency is asking citizens’ help
in making Mississippi, Believe It!™ a success.
How will Mississippi, Believe It!™ affect
For the general public, the information contained in the Mississippi,
Believe It!™ Campaign should provide a form of intellectual
ammunition to defend the state any time its image is in question.
might the media and other organizations help promote Mississippi,
The Cirlot Agency is asking that newspapers across the state again
donate space to help educate Mississippi’s own citizens and
share positive information about Mississippi. The ultimate goal
is to create “citizen ambassadors” for the state. A
year ago, the Agency simply hoped that these “citizen ambassadors” would
visit the website, www.mississippibelieveit.com, download the posters
and email them from coast to coast. To date, through the website
and emails, an estimated 100 million people have seen the posters,
making Mississippi, Believe It!™ a success.
What is the monetary value of the Mississippi,
Believe It!™ Campaign?
Since the campaign began in 2005, the estimated donated value of
the Mississippi, Believe It!™ Campaign is over $550,000
to date. The Cirlot Agency has donated over $500,000 in time and
resources to bring this campaign to fruition. Service Printers,
Inc., of Flowood, MS, donated over $50,000 in printing services
and paper costs for the posters.
Will the Mississippi,
Believe It!™ Campaign
Now in its third year, the Mississippi, Believe It!™ Campaign
has opened an online store, www.mississippibelieveit.com/order/,
where anyone can purchase Mississippi, Believe It!™ merchandise.
T-shirts, caps, and other gift items are available for sale as
a fundraiser for the campaign. The hope is that the online store
will be so successful that the Agency will be able to buy advertising
space in national newspapers and magazines to further spread the
word about Mississippi. All the proceeds from the store go toward
expanding the campaign nationally, as well as covering expenses,
such as packaging and postage. No one involved with the campaign
will profit from the sale of any merchandise.
Why were some great
Mississippians and stories left out?
We realize there is a plethora of great Mississippians and stories
not featured in the ads. So many, in fact, that it is next to
impossible to include them all. Isn’t it a wonderful “problem” not
to have enough space to feature all of our extraordinary stories?
Should you like to voice your opinion on a special Mississippian,
or a great Mississippi story not included in the ads, please visit
the website at www.mississippibelieveit.com and click on the “Know
Another Great Mississippi Story?” section.
Where can I purchase the Mississippi,
Believe It!™ posters?
The posters created are not for sale. As long as the campaign
continues to be used in an educational nature, The Cirlot Agency
will be free to expand and update the campaign. Due to celebrity
images being used, any actions involving monetary gain would prohibit
us from being able to continue this campaign. The Cirlot Agency
and Service Printers have agreed that this campaign will only
be used for educational purposes. For personal use, anyone may
download and print 8 1/2 x 11 copies of the Mississippi,
Believe It!™ posters free of charge at the website, www.mississippibelieveit.com.