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From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

"Horse Kicks"

Winner in Travel & Tourism

Gold Honor in Earned Media


As a Convention and Visitors Bureau, VisitLEX’s primary business objective is twofold: 

  1. Boost awareness and perceptions of Lexington as a travel destination.

  2. Support local businesses, attractions and artists. 

Horse Kicks started with a challenge: how do we differentiate ourselves from rival cities and get new audiences talking about Lexington, Kentucky, The Horse Capital of the World? 

The answer: Sneakers for horses. Obviously.

Strategy and Execution

Horse Kicks began as a stunt to promote Lexington, but after partnering with local sneaker artist Marcus Floyd, it quickly became a very real brand with a very real product—and eventually, very real demand, pioneering a whole new sneaker category.

Equipped with scroll-stopping photo assets, a fun website, and one impossible-to-ignore pop-up activation in the heart of downtown during the 2022 Breeders’ Cup, we launched Horse Kicks into 274 earned media placements, including Jimmy Fallon, USA Today, Washington Post, People, BBC, CNN, NPR and The Drew Barrymore Show. 

Horse Kicks was shared around the world. Instagram accounts with millions of followers posted about it. TikTokers made TikToks. The Indianapolis Colts tweeted about it. 50 Cent was baffled by it. 

Marcus became famous overnight. Custom orders and partnership offers from NFL teams, NBA superstars and major brands flooded in.


Lexington gained international relevance among a whole new audience of sneakerheads and horse lovers, joining together equine and sneaker cultures in the most unexpected of ways. 

Three BILLION earned media impressions later, and Horse Kicks has become the biggest success for one of the tourism industry’s most talked-about brands. 

In total, Horse Kicks amounted to an estimated $103 million advertising dollars in earned impressions. Not only did Horse Kicks introduce Lexington to an enormous global audience of potential travelers, it presented the city in a new and exciting light as a culturally relevant destination that defies the stereotypes often associated with the region. 

VisitLEX has since transferred ownership of the Horse Kicks brand to Marcus Floyd, who is currently taking custom orders. Marcus has pledged to donate 10% of all future Horse Kicks profits to benefit central Kentucky charities.


Video for "Horse Kicks"

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Cornett, VisitLEX


Entry Credits