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, which debuted in 2005, includes 24 public service ads. A full set of the Mississippi, Believe It!™ ads in the form of posters have been sent to every public and private K-12 school and every college and university in the state. This website also houses the ads/posters in a downloadable format.
The Mississippi, Believe It!™ campaign was created by The Cirlot Agency, a leading Mississippi-based global brand strategy, integrated communications and business development firm specializing in public relations, creative development and media strategy. It is known nationally as one of the top three communications firms in the aerospace and defense industry, having worked with such clients as Bell Helicopter, Ingalls Shipbuilding, Northrop Grumman, Textron, Raytheon and Boeing, to name a few. The Agency created the campaign as a gift to the people of Mississippi and as a tribute to its home state. The Cirlot Agency is headquartered in Jackson, MS, with offices in Washington, DC.
A 12-year-old boy from Connecticut once asked the Mississippi businessman sitting next to him on an airplane if he “still saw the KKK on the streets every day” … and whether or not he “hates all black people.” This stunning revelation was the catalyst for that businessman, Rick Looser, the COO of The Cirlot Agency, to fight back against stereotypes that plague Mississippi. After months of research and numerous meetings with prominent citizens across the state, Rick Looser and The Cirlot Agency determined that the first step in changing Mississippi’s perception was to change that of its own citizens. The result was the concept that would become the Mississippi, Believe It!™ campaign.
The Cirlot Agency presented this campaign to the people of Mississippi as a gift. The Agency has made a conscious decision – and is, in fact, very adamant – that the posters not bear the logo of either The Cirlot Agency or that of Service Printers of Flowood, MS, who graciously supplied all printing services, totaling over $100,000, pro bono. Mac Papers in Pearl, MS, also donated all of the paper needed for printing.
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 action involving monetary gain is prohibited. The posters can 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! ™ ads free of charge. Request Posters
If you would like to use the pre-printed 17 x 22 posters for educational purposes, the posters are free – based on availability. Covered educational purposes include:
- Additional posters for public or private schools
- Daycare or afterschool programs
- Teaching aid for homeschool
- Club and/or service organizations
- Displays at city, county or state buildings
- Other public displays
A flat $20 shipping and handling fee is required to cover the cost of the mailing, tube, shipping materials and postage. The posters are free.
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. Service Printers of Flowood, MS, donated all printing services, totaling over $100,000 in services. Additionally, Mac Papers in Pearl, MS, supplied all of the paper needed for printing.
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.
Economic development entities, convention and visitors bureaus, city, county, professional associations, private businesses, etc., in Mississippi have benefited by the state’s misconceptions being changed. Over the years, the Mississippi, Believe It!™ ads have been used in proposals, meetings and information packets by businesses and agencies striving to increase economic development throughout the state. The public service announcements are also used as hot links on company websites to dispel myths and create awareness of Mississippi.
Through this website, Mississippi’s businesses have been able to print the posters and include them in their business proposals in order to help “sell” their home state. 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. Businesses are encouraged to share the campaign with potential clients/customers, employees, etc., to help spread the word of Mississippi’s many positive aspects.
If you are proud of Mississippi’s many successes, we encourage you to become a “citizen ambassador” for the state and share the campaign through your own social media channels.
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. When the campaign was first created, the Agency simply hoped that these “citizen ambassadors” would visit the website, download the posters and email them from coast to coast. To date, through the website, emails, and social media, an estimated 150 million people have seen the posters, making Mississippi, Believe It!™ a success.
Since the campaign began in 2005, the estimated donated value of the Mississippi, Believe It!™ campaign is over $1,100,000 million dollars to date. The Cirlot Agency has donated over $1 million dollars in time and resources to bring this campaign to fruition. Service Printers, Inc., of Flowood, MS, donated over $100,000 in printing services and paper costs for the posters. Mac Papers in Pearl, MS, supplied all of the paper needed for printing.
The Mississippi, Believe It!™ campaign has an online store, 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.
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 click on the Feedback section.
Lesson Plan FAQ's
The lesson plans are designed for 4th grade students to be incorporated into the curriculum within schools across the state of Mississippi. The goal is to educate young Mississippians about the positive qualities of their state, beyond the typical stereotypes that have resonated across the nation for too long. The campaign is intended to encourage students to take pride in their home state of Mississippi and to learn about the great leaders who have walked the same halls of our schools.
Over the past 15+ years, one of the campaign’s biggest successes has been the impact the posters have had among students from the poorest to the most affluent schools. By combating the stereotypes of being “uneducated and ignorant,” the Mississippi, Believe It!ä campaign has proven that, regardless of where you were born, you can be anything you want to be.
The lesson plans were created in College and Career-Ready Standards in Mathematics and Language Arts (Common Core). Mississippi science and Mississippi social studies frameworks were used also. Multiple standards were integrated into each lesson plan to help teachers cover more than one standard at a time and many of the plans are cross curricular.
There are currently 17 individual Mississippi, Believe It!™ lesson plans.
The lesson plans cover the following topics: Mississippi’s economy; the Mississippi Blues Trail; famous entertainers and musicians from Mississippi; Mississippi football mania; football regions; branches of government; Mississippi writers; the first heart, kidney, and lung transplants; Medal of Honor and Purple Heart recipient Jesse Brown; patriotism; first female NFL referee, Sarah Thomas; solar energy; community involvement; the Stennis Space Center; and Walter Anderson.
The duration of the lesson plans range from 10-15 minutes to 45 minutes for multiple days.
During the summer, The Cirlot Agency hired Emily Atkinson and Emily Lingle, two Mississippi elementary teachers, to create the lesson plans.
All lesson plans are available to download on the Mississippi, Believe It!™ website. Teachers are able to obtain the lesson plans at any time by downloading the PDF versions on the site.
The lesson plans are available to the public at no cost.
The lesson plans are intended for 4th grade students, but may be appropriate for other grades, as well.
The subjects and courses range from social studies, to economics, math, science, history, and English. Lessons from the Mississippi history are relevant to all aspects of education.