The Rugglion Blog

If a piece of information comes straight from the horse’s mouth, that generally means it’s a reliable tidbit, shared from an authority who has first-hand knowledge of a situation.

The familiar turn of phrase gets a new, literal translation—the skinny comes directly from the horses’ mouths—in a campaign from tourism bureau VisitLEX.

Psychic medium Carrie Kenady, whose credits include Fright Club on Discovery+ and Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests on Travel Channel, recently flexed her powers of extrasensory perception to gather some equine insight from thoroughbreds who live in and pass through picturesque Central Kentucky. The result is a two-plus minute video ad that’s heavy on the charm and light on the woo woo.

And the clairvoyant-assisted Yelp-style reviews are unsurprisingly positive.

“I get better food here than anywhere else,” says a visiting Canadian horse. “I love the beautiful Lexington weather, but I hate thunderstorms,” says another semi-happy camper. Penny the barn cat added her two cents: “Lexington is amazing. I saw a raccoon.”

For neigh-sayers, Kenady explains her methods of chatting with the animals, where she asked them questions like “what do you think about Lexington’s scenery?” and “what do you think about the people here?”

“I use the same muscle every time I tune into an animal or a person—it’s all telepathic communication,” Kenady says in the video. “Animals show me symbols, words and visual images. It’s really just an exchange of energy.”

This metaphysical romp comes from Cornett, the longtime agency of record for VisitLEX and the architect of a steady stream viral hits such as NFTs (non-fungible thoroughbreds), streetwear-inspired “horseshoes” and “neigh-SMR.”

The campaign, dubbed “The World’s First Travel Reviews by Horses,” borrows some Google-style graphics and aims to tap into consumers’ habits of searching for reviews before booking travel. Per the agency, 83% of travelers say that feedback “plays an essential role” in their decision-making.

It may sound like an unconventional approach, but VisitLEX has been horse-centric in its marketing for years, once strapping GoPros onto their heads and allowing them to film ads from their singular perspectives.

“You must be open to trying things, and you may not always know what’s going to resonate,” Leslie Miller, vice president of marketing at the travel board and former creative at Cornett, told Adweek. “But that’s what makes it exciting and that much more rewarding when it does.”

The convention group evaluates ad concepts by their cultural relevance and potential to connect with new audiences, as well as the way they highlight local people and attractions and prop up the brand pillars “in an unexpected way,” Miller said.

“Then of course we must weigh that against the investment,” Miller said. “It’s a balance, and we’ve done a lot of work to develop our personality as a brand.”

Travel has rebounded in recent years, yet concerns about inflation may keep people closer to home in the uncertain environment of 2023. That may benefit Central Kentucky, Miller said, as 2/3 of the U.S. population lives within a day’s drive of the area.

The beginning of the year isn’t peak vacation season, but VisitLEX wanted to drop the digital campaign now “when people are just beginning to come out of the fog of the holidays and think about where they may want to travel next,” Miller said. “We know people are craving unique experiences.”

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