In an effort to turn around its longstanding image and reputation as one of America’s true backwaters, the state of Mississippi has embarked on an interesting advertising campaign (NYT subscription required).
Created by a local ad agency, the campaign uses such provocative, self-deprecating headlines as: "Yes, we can read. Some of us can even write." The text then lists such notable Mississippi writers as Faulkner and Grisham. Another one states, "Yes, we wear shoes. A few of us even wear cleats." The list of cleat-wearers includes such NFL legends as Walter Payton and Brett Favre.
I like the "in your face" tone of the campaign. Some state residents disagree, however, believing it’s too defensive. But, hey, when you’re always at the bottom of the list when it comes to poverty, education, per capita income and any number of other key indicators, why not ruffle some feathers? The campaign hasn’t made me change any short-term vacation plans, but I definitely know a little bit more about Ole Miss and its remarkable achievers and achievements. And, in my book, that’s the hallmark of any communications program.