I'm always a fan of creative types who scoff at conformity- which is why Kentucky natives, Whit Hiler, Griffin VanMeter and Kent Carmichael are a trio after my own heart. They saw a need and decided to make a change, ignoring any standard do's and don'ts. Which is, afterall, the only way to forge a new path...
They first began this journey back in 2011 when trying to raise 3.5 million on Kickstarter for a Superbowl ad that would promote and celebrate the state of Kentucky. A valid effort, they came well short of the funding- but they did garner enough media attention nationwide to help them launch phase two of their plan.
Whit, Griffin and Kent are proud of their Kentucky heritage. Only problem is, their current state tagline is "Unbridled Spirit." When one googled this phrase, a website offering horse riding lessons in Texas was the first search result. So, they decided to start their own rebranding campaign for the state to help "increase tourism, attract new business, foster pride, diminish stereotypes, unify the Commonwealth and distinguish Kentucky from any other place on the planet."
Kentucky Kicks Ass became their new and improved state tagline (unofficially), and proud Kentuckians statewide were quick to respond with enthusiastic support.
Like any good rebranding campaign, you gotta have good swag. With help from local artists, the boys quickly amassed an impressive shop of Kentucky apparel as well as art prints that pay homage to their homeland.
It's the kind of promotional attire you'd wish all states would create- quality materials with an eye for great design, not that crappy stuff you always find at airports.
The Kick Ass Kentucky campaign rightly includes things and people that make Kentucky great, including George Clooney, Johnny Depp, KFC, horses and Bourbon.
The state tourism board does not officially support the new slogan of Whit, Griffin and Kent but they do so at their own peril. These three guys have garnered a hell of a lot more attention and fanfare for their home state with their bold, brilliant campaigns than in doing things the expected (boring) way. They've forged a new path and I look forward to seeing where else it leads. Support their continued efforts, here.