At this point we’re all aware, embarrassed or proud of, currently watching or blocking the Kentucky Kicks Ass video by Kentucky for Kentucky.
I think I’ve seen every opinion there is about this video, ranging from endorsement to total disgust.
I don’t understand the rejection. And beyond that, if you’re offended by this video, you may have missed the point all together.
So far, “Kentucky for Kentucky” has been received national press from USA Today, PolicyMic, The Huffington Post, Media Post and Ad Week. Meanwhile, “Kentucky Tourism” press coverage stops with in-state publications, well, sans Kentucky for Kentucky’s headline help.
That’s my point. And I think it’s Kentucky for Kentucky’s, too.
No one is trying to hang a neon “Kentucky Kicks Ass” sign in the middle of the Cumberland Gap Tunnel or Sherman Minton Bridge. The goal of this project is to tell people that Kentucky’s roots run deeper than a barefoot heel can dig. You know about our bourbon, but did you know that Bardstown, Ky., the “Bourbon Capital of the World,” was named the Most Beautiful Small Town in America? Murray, Ky. is the friendliest. Louisville is the manliest, one of the tastiest and about two dozen other things. Kentucky is awesome, and this rogue campaign is at least harnessing that, which is more than the Kentucky Tourism department can claim.
When USA Today got wind of the campaign, they asked state officials what they thought. Their answer was less than supportive, not only missing a huge opportunity to ride — basically for free — on the tailwind of the buzz Kentucky for Kentucky has built. Tom Eblen said it all better than I can, so I won’t say it again. Just read his column.
I’ve discussed with several people about this campaign and whether or not it’s the right approach for the state. One person said Kentucky needs to tackle its real problems before labeling itself with such a goofy tagline. I would say that point is moot after the half a million dollars was spent on “Unbridled Spirit,” but in all reality, a tourism campaign’s purpose is not tackling the state’s underlying social issues, but highlighting its attractive assets to increase our revenue from out-of-state dollars.
Another person said Kentucky needs more than some good food in Louisville and a few museums to actually draw tourist from across the country. My answer to that is two fold. First, we’re not necessarily trying to pull travelers from the west coast. A person from Ohio, Indiana, Missouri or any of Kentucky’s neighbors has money just as green as someone from California. And secondly, Kentucky’s possibilities with adventure tourism are limitless and largely untapped. Here, a person to kayak, canoe, hunt, fish, off-road, camp, hike, zip line, rock climb or go spelunking, all within state lines and a few hours drive at most.
If you’re offended by the word “ass,” that’s fine. I get it. But before you criticize the gentlemen’s effort to tell people about the state they love, consider their motives, and consider what they have accomplished. If nothing else I think we have to give them some credit for the PR they have earned for the state, for better or worse.
I think it’s for the better, though.