A Horse Dressed Up as Mr. Rogers in These Ads for Lexington, Ky.

Cornett spurs innovation

Some horses participate in dressage. This horse dressed up as Mr. Rogers for a wacky campaign inviting folks to visit Lexington, Kentucky. 

To be clear, we're not talking about Photoshopping clothes onto some computer-generated nag. Hank, a 21-year-old palomino who lives at the Kentucky Horse Park, was actually outfitted by award-winning fashion designer Soreyda Benedit Begley and photographed for print ads with headlines like "It's a beautiful day in the Neighhhborhood." 

Hey Hank, you look dapper in your crisp white shirt, tan chinos and red jacket. Why the long face? 

"The costume uses Velcro, so it was pretty easy getting it on and off. No one got kicked in the face," reports Whit Hiler, creative director of Lexington agency Cornett, which developed the campaign for VisitLEX. 

Hiler is no stranger to oddball advertising, having developed the Blue Grass State's unofficial "kick-ass" tourism campaign, commercials shot by horses and the Kentucky Fun Mall featuring Cocaine Bear.

But why dress a horse as a beloved kids' show host to tout regional tourism? Hiler insists there's a connection to the upcoming Mr. Rogers biopic. You see, the horse is named Hank, and the film stars Tom Hanks ... so the names are similar ... and Mr. Rogers was known for his hospitality, and so is Lexington, which is also famous for its horses ... and that all adds up to … er ... well ... 

Horse pucky! One of our equine friends is dressed up as Mr. Rogers. Isn't that that reason enough to celebrate? 

Hank steals the show in this behind-the-scenes video: 

Of course of course, he's had plenty of practice, having appeared in VisitLEX's Neigh-SMR film back in the spring: 

Speaking of horse pucky, who knows what they'll want from Hank next?

CREDITS

VisitLEX – Gathan Borden, VP of Marketing
Agency - Cornett
Whit Hiler – Creative Director
Dave Jones – Art Director
Jonathon Spalding – Senior Copywriter
Allie Plata – Associate Copywriter
John Buckman – Photographer/Video Editor
Mary Jane Speer – Photographer
Leslie Miller – Senior Account Planner
Bailey Klutts – Assistant Account Planner
Soreyda Benedit Begley - Fashion Designer
Kentucky Horse Park – Mindy Welch, Barn Manager Parade of Breeds
Kentucky Horse Park – Trellie Griffith, Equine Staff
Kentucky Horse Park – Hank the horse

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.