Not enough for a Super Bowl ad, but a start

Proud Kentuckians, left to right: Col. Harland Sanders, Kent Carmichael, Griffin VanMeter, Whit Hiler. Photo by Tom Eblen

Three 30-something marketers who launched an Internet fundraising campaign to sponsor a Super Bowl commercial about the greatness of Kentucky fell considerably short of their $3.5 million goal.

The trio aren’t giving up, though. They plan to drop back and punt.

When the 60-day deadline on their Kickstarter.com fundraising drive expired Monday morning, Whit Hiler, Griffin VanMeter and Kent Carmichael had received 576 pledges totaling $112,287.

Not bad, but not nearly enough to place a commercial on the nation’s most expensive television buy. Because the project didn’t meet its goal, none of the pledges can be collected through Kickstarter.com.

VanMeter said the three plan to produce a commercial anyway and launch a new, smaller Kickstarter campaign to buy time on Kentucky stations to show it in or around the Super Bowl telecast on Feb. 5. They also will put the spot on their project’s Web site: KentuckyForKentucky.com

“All the marketing and branding people jumped on the idea and thought it was great,” VanMeter said. Many volunteered video production resources that will come in handy for making the commercial.

One thing that came out of the campaign, VanMeter said, was how many people are proud to be Kentuckians, and what a good brand Kentucky for Kentucky could be for T-shirts and other merchandise. So far, their website has been a compilation of little-known facts about great Kentuckians, contributed by the site’s users.

“It was a breath of fresh air that energized people,” VanMeter said of the fundraising campaign. “We know Kentucky is a great brand.”

Click here to read my Sept. 14 column about the effort. Here is the project’s website and Facebook page.