Mississippi Yearning

“Welcome to the weekend” is the positioning the GodwinGroup has taken in its kick-off campaign for the Mississippi Development Authority’s tourism initiative.

Television ads break in Atlanta, Nashville, Tenn., and Baton Rouge, La., this week and will run through April. Print work will appear in Southern Living, Readers Digest, Travel and Holiday magazines, as well as selected newspapers within a500-mile radius.

Media spending for phase one of the campaign has been estimated at $600,000.

“In the past Mississippi has been perceived as hoop skirts, grits and riverboats,” said agency chief creative officer Todd Ballard. “The truth is there’s so much more—gaming, golf, the blues, the beaches of the Gulf Coast, history.”

That abundance meshes nicely with the tag—”We can’t make the list any shorter. Look’s like you better make your weekend a few days longer”—in the Jackson, Miss., shop’s print and TV work.

Thanks, in part, to the state’s booming Gulf Coast casinos, 30 million visitors now pass through Mississippi annually.

“If we can get them to stay an additional night, we win,” said Ballard.

Creatively, there is an emotional rhythm to the TV writing that soars above regional tourism ads: “Battlefields whose dead will live forever … back roads that meander forever.”

That sensibility is connected to the client’s overall objective.

“There’s a new day in Mississippi,” said Ballard. “We want to engender pride in Mississippians, so tourists get a sense of that pride. Given our history, it’s not going to be accomplished by one ad or commercial.”