The crowd applauded and even cheered when the new tourism slogan and brand for South Mississippi was announced Monday after a year of research and testing.
Now it’s time to stop working on the brand and let it start working for the Coast, said Richard Chenoweth, chairman of the Coastal Mississippi board, formerly Visit MS Gulf Coast. He called the launch “such a pivotal moment” for the Coast as a tourist destination.
Most people at the unveiling said they approved of “Coastal Mississippi: The Secret Coast.” Some were underwhelmed by the choice of slogan and said “It’s OK” and “We’ll see how it goes.”
Facebook also had mixed comments. One person said, “Scratching my head in confusion.. I don’t get it. What’s so secret about us?” He said the Coast once was third in the nation for casino revenue. The Seawolves won the Kelly Cup and the Shuckers were featured on ESPN during their epic road trip. Robin Roberts is from the Pass and the commenter said she made sure everyone knew it after Hurricane Katrina. And Jimmy Buffet is from Pascagoula and writes songs about the Coast.
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Another person said, “That land mass between New Orleans and Mobile really is a secret place. I’m torn between keeping it our little secret and letting people know so they can enjoy it, too.”
Search the internet for Coastal Mississippi and it shows the area isn’t all that well-known by potential visitors.
“What is there to do in Biloxi besides gamble?” is one of the frequently asked questions, according to Feedback.
“This might be one of the most underrated stretches of coastline in America,” the Matador Network said in a 2017 article in conjunction with Visit MS Gulf Coast.
Vogue magazine reported in 2017, “The Mississippi Gulf Coast is lesser known as a tourist destination, but it’s slowly becoming a hotbed for art, music, and style.”
Here is what people who attended the brand launch at Jones Park said:
- “So we’re now ‘Coastal Mississippi.’ Let’s make it happen.” — Milton Segarra, CEO of Coastal Mississippi
- “I like it.” — Beverly Martin, Harrison County supervisor
- “I think it’s fantastic. It really highlights all the unique activities on the Coast. I think it will be well-received.” — Clay Williams, executive director of Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport
- “I think we have a great story to tell. This is a new way to tell it.” — Matt McDonnell, executive director of Coast Coliseum and Convention Center
- “I think it’s a good slogan for the entire Gulf Coast. It covers everybody.” — Dorothy Roberts, owner of Robin’s Nest in the Pass
- “The Peter Mayer agency understands our culture and their team got it right. Everything about the new brand communicates who we are and why visitors should choose our secret coast as a destination.” — Tish Williams, executive director of Hancock Chamber of Commerce
- “As long as the people we want to bring here like it, that’s really important.” — Linda Hornsby, executive director of Mississippi Hotel & Lodging Association
- “I think it’s perfect for the Coast. We hear it from all the tourists,” she said about being a secret destination. — Robin Krohn David, executive director of Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum
- “Being coastal, it really hones in on what we are here and the environment of hospitality.” — Steve Gunn, Coast businessman
- “We are different so let’s be different.” — Rich Westfall, chairman of Coastal Mississippi marketing committee