Bringing an immersive Lexington experience to the Windy City.
How a dynamic experiential marketing campaign took over the streets of Chicago.
What we did
Integrated Media Strategy
Integrated Media Planning/Buying
Like Kentuckians, Chicagoans love their bourbon. As a top five bourbon city, Chicago offers a unique environment to create an immersive experience that centers around two of Lexington’s unique offerings—bourbon and horses. So that’s exactly what we did.
Chicago makes sense as a market for us, given its close proximity to Lexington (only 6 hours by car or a quick 1-hour flight). Plus, we’ve seen a steady lift in online and search engagement from the Chicago area, so we looked to cater to this interest by bringing Lexington to Chicago. Chicago also has the second largest collection of association headquarters offices in the country, making it a great place to reach VisitLEX’s other audience, meeting planners.
In a busy city like Chicago, it can be tough to break out from the clutter of advertising, particularly in a high-traffic commuter area. We knew it was important to create something immersive and engaging that showed off Lexington as an authentic destination.
We set out to determine how best to tell the story of Lexington in a way that both highlights our most unique experiences and reaches people amidst the hustle and bustle of Chicago. We know that plenty of places tout their unique dining options and craft beer scenes, but only in Lexington can you find yourself surrounded by both bourbon distilleries and horse farms.
We also wanted to intercept people during their day-to-day commute and get them daydreaming about a trip to Lexington. In an area usually inundated with advertising, a head-turning execution was a must in order to capture people’s attention and get them eager to learn more about our city.
We took Lexington to the streets of Chicago, hitting them with a larger-than-life execution promoting two of Lexington’s unique attractions: bourbon and horses. The campaign included a domination of Jackson Station’s upper and lower tunnels, a sponsored Garden & Gun dinner, influencer endorsements and geo-targeted ads that ran in conjunction with Whisky Fest in April. Our ads drove to SharetheLex.com, ushering them into the planning phase of the travel cycle and giving them tools to plan their very own Lexington experience.
Our presence in downtown Chicago lasted a month—and in that time, we garnered more than 10 million media impressions, along with a heap of social engagement including more than 2.5mm video views and an increase of 45% in organic social reach.
This was more than just advertising. It was a dynamic burst onto the streets of Chicago, marking the beginning of a relationship with Chicagoans that we’ll continue to build moving forward. This is just the beginning.
Bryan Rowe, Sr. Media Planner/Buyer
“We were challenged to have our demographic engage with our brand and inspire them to travel to Lexington, which is difficult to do in the traditional space. So we explored executions like a Garden & Gun dinner series in Philadelphia and an out-of-home placement in Chicago, both of which allowed people to experience Lexington in their own markets. And in the follow-up survey after the Garden & Gun dinner series, 100% of the attendees said they were more likely to visit Lexington.
So much of what we’ve accomplished is a direct result of close collaboration between our media, creative and account teams. From day one of a project, we’re feeding off of each other and exploring these types of unique executions, which won’t turn up unless you have that sort focus and collaboration.”
Leslie Miller, VP, Director of Brand Management
“Lexington continues to evolve, which presents new challenges all the time. I think what has made VisitLEX a huge success is the transparent, collaborative relationship we’ve established. We’re always coming to their team with proactive ideas, but the VisitLEX team is the same way and always has an open mind. It’s a true partnership, and it’s allowed us to find so many unexpected ways to share the story of Lexington, whether that’s something like an experiential collaboration with Garden & Gun for a Lexington-inspired dining experience, or the many creative ways we’ve been able to bring #sharethelex to life.”