YOCE Annual Report
In partnership with the Office of Governor Phil Bryant, Visit Mississippi celebrated a Mississippi Homecoming: Year of the Creative Economy, during 2014. This statewide celebration recognized the people, enterprises, and communities that make up Mississippi’s creative sector. This year-long program was an unmatched opportunity to experience the artists, musicians, writers, chefs, actors and creative professionals who have called Mississippi home.
We called on friends like Grammy-winner Cassandra Wilson and Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman to be the faces of the campaign. Robert St. John helped us talk about culinary legacy and the inimitable Bobby Rush invited guests to experience our diverse musical heritage. We highlighted local programming as part of the Mississippi Homecoming events calendar, and invited visitors to experience the arts and culture of our state again or for the first time.
The Mississippi Homecoming ad campaign utilized traditional advertising like print and television as well as an integrated digital campaign that involved online ads. We had over 15 million impressions reached via traditional advertising, and more than 36,000 page views on the website that we dedicated to the campaign (mshomecoming.com).
The Creative Economy Twitter account (@MSCreativeEcon) had 186% growth over the course of the 2014. The #mshomecoming hashtag started conversations about Mississippi’s food, music, arts, and culture – from slugburgers in Corinth to antebellum homes in Natchez. When we released our first Mississippi Homecoming video, Skift, the leading travel industry blog, named it one of five best advertisements in the world that week.
These are great statistics. But Mississippi Homecoming wasn’t just about social media and advertising impressions – although those are very important. One of the greatest successes of the yearlong celebration was the civic pride created when our beloved Mississippi artists came home to reflect on the influence this place has had on their creative process.
We also achieved great success in better informing the business community about the vast impact of the creative sector on the state’s economy. We debuted the vision for the Year of the Creative Economy and the ad campaign at the Mississippi Economic Development Council’s Winter Meeting, conveying how Mississippi chambers of commerce could get involved on the local level. More than 2,000 business leaders joined Mississippi Economic Council to “Celebrate Mississippi’s Creative Economy” during the 65th MEC Annual Meeting on April 10 at the Jackson Convention Complex, bringing together innovators, artists and entrepreneurs with the state’s leading economic developers. Innovate Mississippi touted Mississippi’s Creative Economy in the Winter 2014 edition of their quarterly magazine, Pointe Innovation
, further exploring how innovation and creativity are the future of the state’s growth.
At the close of the Year of the Creative Economy, we know that more people have heard the Mississippi story. However, we need everyone to help us shout Mississippi’s story louder so we can continue to build on the creative economy through investment in our state’s greatest resources: our vibrant culture, dedicated citizens and one-of-a-kind experiences.