PEAVEY INT'L. HEADQUARTERS — Music-industry maven Hartley Peavey is the latest Mississippian chosen for a national image-building campaign designed to combat negative stereotypes about his home state. "Mississippi, Believe It!" is a public-service advertising initiative that educates people within Mississippi and abroad about the state's many successful people and innovations. Peavey Electronics, the globally successful musical-instrument and sound-equipment company Hartley Peavey founded in Meridian, figures heavily in the campaign's second phase. "There are thousands of business success stories in Mississippi," said Rick Looser, COO of The Cirlot Agency, the creative team behind the pro-bono campaign. "But like most states, there are only a few where just the mention of the brand transcends states, countries and continents. Peavey is one of those rare brands and a role model for what can be accomplished here." "Mississippi, Believe It!" debuted in 2005 with ads celebrating writers William Faulkner, Eudora Welty and John Grisham and sports legends Walter Payton and Brett Favre—not to mention scores of blues musicians—and garnered attention from media such as The New York Times and U.S. News & World Report. Featuring the bold headline "A Mississippi Stereo Type," the second phase kicks off with a poster and print advertisement that commends Hartley's ongoing quest—and the commitment of thousands of Peavey employees through the years—to build the world's finest musical and audio equipment. Looser said that with its worldwide recognition, continued innovation and longevity, Peavey is an image-builder outside the state's boundaries as well as within. "The first step in changing Mississippi's perception is to change that of its own citizens, so we are sending posters to every public and private K-12 school, and every college and university in the state," he said. "We want our schoolchildren and young adults to know that they can be anything they want to be. Hartley Peavey pursued his dream and has achieved immense success, and we hope that his story encourages others to strive for excellence in their lives." The "Mississippi, Believe It!" campaign was designed to inform and educate the citizens of Mississippi, as well as the rest of the country, about the many positive attributes of Mississippi. It now includes fourteen public-service announcements created to run both in newspapers and magazines, as well as an online store where anyone can purchase "Mississippi, Believe It!" merchandise to help support the campaign. For more information and to download posters, please visit www.mississippibelieveit.com.