The notorious Kentucky for Kentucky founders open shop at The Barn at Fritz Farm, spreading state pride to a new crowd.
“Our mission is to engage and inform the world by promoting Kentucky people, places, and products. And to kick ass for the Commonwealth!”
–Kentucky for Kentucky
In 2011, irreverent marketers Whit Hiler, Kent Carmichael and Griffin VanMeter jokingly asked themselves “what if we crowdfunded a Super Bowl commercial for the great Commonwealth of Kentucky?”
One month later, after raising more than $112,000, catching the eye of national media and being named one of Kickstarter’s top 12 favorites that year, they realized they were on to something.
Although the campaign didn’t quite earn the $3.5 million dollars it takes to buy an ad during the Super Bowl, the group did find inspiration for distinguishing Kentucky from any other place on the planet. The Kickstarter campaign provided a platform that got people talking about how awesome the state is and united people behind a common purpose to promote their great state.
A year later, Kentucky for Kentucky embarked on a new campaign to rebrand Kentucky…without the state’s permission. “Kentucky Kicks Ass” has since become the unofficial slogan for the Commonwealth.
“Unbridled Kentuckians Decide It’s Time For A Kick-Ass New Slogan.”
The Kentucky for Kentucky crew claims to have arrived at their unconventional slogan after a visit to all 120 counties in the state and conducting interviews with literally every resident.
The goals of their grassroots rebrand were simple: increase tourism, attract new business, foster pride, diminish stereotypes and create an epic movement that would put Kentucky top of mind across the country.
Starting out with little more than a logo and an activated Facebook page that highlighted some of the proudest moments in the state’s history, Kentucky for Kentucky set out to emphasize the hidden gems that make Kentucky “the place to be.”
“Ky. fried chicken candles: Get ’em while they’re hot!”
The Kentucky for Kentucky partners thought like-minded Commonwealth boosters would want to spread state pride through kitsch and clothing branded with southern words, such as “Y’all.”
The guys launched their flagship Kentucky-proud retail “Fun Mall” in the a 12,000 square foot parachute factory located in the heart of Lexington in 2015, where they sell apparel, barware, hats, home goods, jewelry, prints and much more. Kentuckians also come from far and wide to get their photos taken with the famous Cocaine Bear (a.k.a Pablo EscoBear).
“Two Men, and One Cocaine Bear, Just Made Kentucky’s Strangest Local Ad Ever.”
More recently, they decided to bring the fun down to the south side of the city to inhabit The Barn at Fritz Farm and introduce the party to the suburban population, reaching an entirely new audience. Kentucky for Kentucky’s “fun stall” will be the only retailer at The Barn and will sell many of the brand’s staple products, while also incorporating many new items.
Kentucky for Kentucky is excited “to join all of their pals that will occupy the various stalls in the food hall and to support each of them throughout this new journey.” The brand anticipates the location at The Barn at Fritz Farm to be the best retail store in all of the state.
Follow Kristin Luna as she eats, drinks and art-hunts her way through Lexington.
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